Interrogation

interrogation-chairThe last couple of weeks have been dominated in the news cycle by the Obama administration’s de-classification and subsequent release of CIA documents around the enhanced interrogation techniques employed against high value terrorists. I have to say that I am a bit peeved about the whole thing. Probably not for the reasons that you may think, however. I am going to talk about interrogation here as I know it. I will talk about some of the allegations that have come up during the news cycles and what I know about them. I will attempt to discuss the morality of the situation and the line that we cross at some point. And I will discuss quickly the idea of prosecuting the folks that were involved in the interrogation of Khalid Sheik Muhammed and Al Zubaydah. Because it seems to me that these are criminals chasing criminals. So off we go…

Let’s start by doing the relevant thing here. Inevitably the conversation is going to end up with someone talking about Geneva Convention and what that means. It is important to understand that more than the “Geneva Conventions” are at play here. The defining of torture falls under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (signed by the US in 1988, and ratified in 1994). The definition of torture according to this document (and as noted agreed to by ratifying member USA) is:

Article 1.1:  Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

So that is the agreed upon definition of torture. It is important to note that the United States of America signed and ratified this document, of our own free will. We were not forced to do so.

So already you are thinking to yourself, “Uh Oh, that seems pretty clear cut as to what is allowed, and it sure seems like we crossed that line fairly quickly”. Yes you are correct, whether or not we like it, the definition of torture according to this document is clear (or is it?), and it is clear that the United States has violated this document with their treatment of prisoners, not only in this particular instance, but in Abu Gharib prison as well (but remember that is not the topic here!). The pictures from there did not lie.

Article Two of the Convention clearly lays out the conditions of when torture is not allowed. It states:

Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under its jurisdiction. This prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever” may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict.  Torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies. Neither can it be justified by orders from superior officers or public officials. The prohibition on torture applies to all territories under a party’s effective jurisdiction, and protects all people under its effective control, regardless of citizenship or how that control is exercised.

I know, “Uh Oh again”. Because it seems to me that this clearly spells out that terrorist acts and even war can be invoked to justify torture, as defined in Article 1. And it further states that it cannot be justified by orders from public officials or as a means to protect public safety. It seems pretty clear that the justification that we are seeing produced is a clear violation of the convention. However there is one aspect not being discussed if we simply jump to this conclusion… The use of the word severe (highlighted in red) in article one. 

We aren’t talking morality here. We will get to that later. We are talking about whether the people responsible for the interrogations should be prosecuted under violation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. It is clear that the rest of this hinges on the definition of severe. And there is the lone gray area that allowed this to be authorized and may, in fact, save those involved. So what are we talking about in terms of procedures? The released interrogation memo’s show fourteen procedures being authorized and the justification for how injury risk is reduced and why the legal group felt they were not torture under the above convention.

Sleep deprivation “Generally, a detainee undergoing this technique is shackled in a standing position with his hands in front of his body, which prevents him from falling asleep but also allows him to move around within a two- to three-foot diameter.”“It is clear that depriving someone of sleep does not involve severe physical pain … Nor could sleep deprivation constitute a procedure calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses, so long as sleep deprivation (as you have informed us is your intent) is used for limited periods, before hallucinations or other profound disruptions of the senses would occur.”
terrorist-torture-trainingWalling The interrogator “quickly and firmly pushes the individual into the wall. … The head and neck are supported with a rolled hood or towel … to help prevent whiplash. You have informed us that the sound of hitting the wall will actually be far worse than any possible injury to the individual. The use of the rolled towel around the neck also reduces any risk of injury. While it may hurt … any pain experienced is not of the intensity associated with serious physical injury.”
Confinement with insects “You would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. You plan to inform Zubaydah that you are going to place a stinging insect into the box, but you will actually place a harmless insect in the box, such as a caterpillar. If you do so, to ensure that you are outside the predicate act requirement, you must inform him that the insects will not have a sting that would produce death or severe pain.”
Cramped confinement “Cramped confinement involves the placement of the individual in a confined space, the dimensions of which restrict the individual’s movement. The confined space is usually dark. It may be argued that, focusing in part on the fact that the boxes will be without light, placement in these boxes would constitute a procedure designed to disrupt profoundly the senses. As we explained in our recent opinion, however, to ‘disrupt profoundly the senses’ a technique must produce an extreme effect in the subject.”
Attention grasp “This technique consists of grasping the individual with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, in a controlled and quick motion. The facial hold and the attention grasp involve no physical pain. In the absence of such pain it is obvious that they cannot be said to inflict severe physical pain or suffering.”
Water dousing “Cold water is poured on the detainee either from a container or from a hose without a nozzle. … The water poured on the detainee must be potable, and the interrogators must ensure that water does not enter the detainee’s nose, mouth, or eyes. Consequently, given that there is no expectation that the technique will cause severe physical pain or suffering when properly used, we conclude that the authorized use of this technique by an adequately trained interrogator could not reasonably be considered specifically intended to cause these results.”
interrogation-cartoonStress positions “These positions are not designed to produce the pain associated with contortions or twisting of the body. … They are designed to produce the physical discomfort associated with muscle fatigue. Any pain associated with muscle fatigue is not of the intensity sufficient to amount to ‘severe physical pain or suffering’ under the statute, nor, despite its discomfort, can it be said to be difficult to endure.”
Nudity “A detainee may be kept nude, provided that ambient temperatures and the health of the detainee permit. Although some detainees might be humiliated by this technique, especially given possible cultural sensitivities and the possibility of being seen by female officers, it cannot constitute ‘severe mental pain or suffering’ under the statute.”
Dietary manipulation “This technique involves the substitution of commercial liquid meal replacements for normal food, presenting detainees with a bland, unappetizing, but nutritionally complete diet. Although we do not equate a person who voluntarily enters a weight-loss program with a detainee subjected to dietary manipulation as an interrogation technique, we believe that it is relevant that several commercial weight-loss programs available in the United States involve similar or even greater reductions in caloric intake.”
Abdominal slap “In this technique, the interrogator strikes the abdomen of the detainee with the back of his open hand. The interrogator must have no rings or other jewelry on his hand. Although the abdominal slap technique might involve some minor physical pain, it cannot, as you have described it to us, be said to involve even moderate, let alone severe, physical pain or suffering.”
Facial slap “The interrogator slaps the individual’s face with fingers slightly spread. … The purpose of the facial slap is to induce shock, surprise, and/or humiliation. The facial slap and walling contain precautions to ensure that no pain even approaching this level results. … The facial slap does not produce pain that is difficult to endure.”
waterboardingWaterboarding “This effort plus the cloth produces the perception of ‘suffocation and incipient panic,’ i.e., the perception of drowning. The individual does not breathe any water into his lungs. During those 20 to 40 seconds, water is continuously applied from a height of 12 to 24 inches. … The sensation of drowning is immediately relieved by the removal of the cloth. The procedure may then be repeated. Although the subject may experience the fear or panic associated with the feeling of drowning, the waterboard does not inflict physical pain. … Although the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result to violate the statutory prohibition infliction of severe mental pain or suffering. … Indeed, you have advised us that the relief is almost immediate when the cloth is removed from the nose and mouth. In the absence of prolonged mental harm, no severe mental pain or suffering would have been inflicted, and the use of these procedures would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute.”
Facial hold “The facial hold is used to hold the head immobile. One open palm is placed on either side of the individual’s face. The fingertips are kept well away from the individual’s eyes. The facial hold and the attention grasp involve no physical pain. In the absence of such pain it is obvious that they cannot be said to inflict severe physical pain or suffering.”
Wall standing “Used to induce muscle fatigue. The individual stands about four to five feet from a wall. … His arms are stretched out in front of him, with his fingers resting on the wall. Any pain associated with muscle fatigue is not of the intensity sufficient to amount to ‘severe physical pain or suffering’ under the statute, nor, despite its discomfort, can it be said to be difficult to endure.”

So the question is whether these techniques are severe. I have to tell you, before I saw this list initially I was expecting some stuff FAR worse than what I see here. The implications given by the MSM were that waterboarding was just one of many horrible things being done. It is clear to me that waterboarding is by far the harshest of the techniques used, hence why it is what is being called out. Not a single one of these techniques causes permanent damage. And it should be noted that the interrogators went as far as to seek permission before doing something as simple as grabbing someone by their collar. My 8th grade shop teacher did that to me several times, and I don’t recall him getting White House approval. 

serepatchOne of the arguments used by officials is the fact that all of these techniques are used in the United States Military S.E.R.E (I will remove the periods now that I have done it correctly at least once) School to US military personnel, so they aren’t torture. After all they wouldn’t torture American soldiers! (However they have let liberals flourish, so that “we wouldn’t torture Americans” claim is out the window.) As you all know, I keep my military background to myself, but let’s just say I know a thing or two about SERE school. They didn’t waterboard there in my time. Maybe they do now. But I can tell you that what they did do in SERE school was worse than what is listed up there. You know why? Because they were preparing soldiers for what every OTHER country would do to them if captured. Anyway…. It is one of the worst schools in the world. 

So the bottom line for me, with morality out of the picture, is that I would not define the techniques that are listed above as severe”. I therefore do not deem the techniques above to be torture. I know that some of you will disagree and I am willing to debate the issue. But That is how I see it. I have heard people say that America needs to be real; that “we know what torture looks like and this is it”. I say I DO know what torture looks like, and this doesn’t qualify. 

congress-tortureNow that being said, that doesn’t mean that I approve 100% of what has happened. Because while the techniques above don’t look like “torture” to me, an overuse of them might change the tone a bit. KSM was waterboarded 183 times. Zubaydah was waterboarded 87 times. Is this too much? After a while they would get to know the outcome was not going to really hurt them, so I am unsure whether the repetition constitutes torture or a stupid waste of time. I mean if repetition changes the answer, it would have to change the severity, and I don’t think it becomes more severe with repetition. 

So let’s take a quick walk down morality lane so that I can give BlackFlag something to harp on. He could find immorality in me pinching myself. Since I don’t define the above actions as torture, are the enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT’s) morally right? Initially I said to myself that there was no way to justify that treatment of someone this way, whether torture or not, cannot be moral. But upon further introspection, I think that maybe they are. IF they were effective in preventing the deaths of hundreds or thousands of innocent people, then I think they are moral given that the guys the EIT’s were used on were confirmed terrorists. So long as the techniques did not result in permanent harm, they were bad people with information about the impending deaths of hundreds of innocent people. I know this might be dipping into the land of moral relativism, so I am open to debate on this. But this is my initial thought.

torture-first-stepI will say this. I agree with Obama that America should take the steps to ensure that we hold the moral high ground in regard to treatment of hostile captives. You will notice I did not take the tact that “they cut off our heads so anything goes”. We are a better country than that and should conduct ourselves as such. Perhaps if we did that more often, the rest of the world might not be so critical of what we do. 

And that brings me to my next point. If these techniques actually did directly lead to information that stopped pending attacks or exposed other terrorists in waiting, then I think that the memo’s stating so should be released as well. Former VP Cheney referenced such memo’s last week and asked for them to be released as the other side of the issue. If those documents exist there is no reason not to release them. After all, that information would be irrelevant now as the disasters would have already been averted. This being the case would point to the release of the information being purely a political move. And that would lower Obama’s stature in my head even further for blatantly playing games, as he is the one who released them. 

And that brings me to the end question. Should members of the administration be prosecuted for the acts by the current lackey, Eric Holder. It is a sad state that we have seen so much back and forth on this issue. The President claims that we aren’t going to look to the past and therefore won’t seek to prosecute. Then silly children in Congress cry like little bitches that they aren’t getting to go after the bad Bush people. And the President and Holder suddenly say Ok maybe we will go after prosecution. 

barney-frank-fraudOn one hand I say two wrongs don’t make a right. If this is determined to be torture it is clear that the law requires that this be prosecuted. And all the little crying Democrat bitches in Congress and scream with joy and talk about how bad the Republicans are. But if that is the case, then the Republicans should move to have the same treatment applied to the criminals in the Democratic party. Pelosi, Franks, Dodd, Maxine Waters, Geithner, the list goes on and on. It pains me to no end that the same bitches crying in Congress for prosecution may be some of the most crooked people ever to hold the title of Senator or Representative. And this is what I meant by Criminals chasing criminals. Any time that we start hearing about members of the United States Congress calling for the prosecution of ANYONE, we should immediately throw the bullshit flag and assess a 15 yard penalty.

I would take this a step further and demand the prosecution of all criminals in Washington politics, but it is clear that there would be no one left. Not a single blood sucking leech in Congress would remain if we prosecuted all the criminals. The hypocrisy in Washington is thick, so thick a chainsaw couldn’t cut it. And if you don’t think your party in Washington is filled to the brim with criminals, then you are a partisan hack who refuses to see reality. And that applies to BOTH parties. Those of us on this site fall under no such illusion. 

I won’t even get into whether releasing the memos was a good idea in terms of national security. People can discuss that if they like, but I could get into another 1,000 words on that one. And I just don’t have time.

So fire away. Are the techniques listed above severe? Is what we are talking about here torture? Should the memos be released that tell us what the results gained were? And should the crooked members of Congress be going after Bush administration officials for prosecution? I look forward to everyone’s thoughts.

 

You can find the list of techniques I listed above here:Interrogation Techniques – Interactive Graphic – NYTimes.com

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Comments

  1. What is described above is nothing more than grade school hazing. You and I KNOW what torture is. The USMC had a school back when I first enlisted (now they have centralized most of the schooling, including military police) that was called E&E school. Even if we managed to evade capture during the first three days we still had to spend a week in the can. Along about day four I would have enjoyed a waterboarding session. If this stuff actually caused these terrorist types to capitulate and give up info that saved lives of innocent people, then I say more power to them.

    BTW – What the communist NVA did to people would turn all those crying jerks in congress into screaming idiots. I have seen the evidence they left behind.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      You should be ashamed to compare or equate the ‘rightness’ of NVA techniques to what we can/should do. You were exposed militarily to the training you were because there are combatants who do hold themselves to the same standards the rest of the world does – not so you could one day justify doing the same thing to other people.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Should have read “do not hold themselves accountable”

        • TexasChem says:

          We are the only nation to use nuclear weapons in warfare.War is hell.In wartime I believe history has taught us that whomever uses the bigger stick will become the victor.I believe there should be no standards in war.If your reasons for going to war are legitimate enough to kill another human to keep yourself from being killed, uphold your and your familys freedoms then whatever means is necessary to insure your team winning is acceptable.

          • Black Flag says:

            Then prepare for suffering horrific destruction upon yourself.

            Sun Tzu warned of the dangers of ‘total war’. It always ended up destroying those that purposely acted with it.

            It gives your enemy no hope of compromise and steels his will to fight to the death.

            And death wins.

            • TexasChem says:

              Nuclear weapons did not exist during Sun Tzus’ time in histroy therefore he was not aware of how nuclear deterance would affect nations stance in this age.

              Total war seems to be working for the Muslims in Africa at the moment.How many nations have instated Islamic law in the past 75 years BF?

          • Black Flag says:

            Nuclear weapons are merely an artifact of the modern era.

            Total war is an artifact of war regardless of era. Utter devastation of nations and populations occur throughout history – the use and threat of the same in the modern era notwithstanding.

            Sun Tzu recognized the purpose of war is to enforce political will upon the unwilling. It is a failure if destroy the other while doing so.

            It matters not one wit what law is or is not instituted in other countries – why should it bother you?

            One can point to the ‘forced democracy’ of the western powers upon other nations and our support of dictators.

            Does such a fact improve your argument?

      • Ray, you said; “the ‘rightness’ of NVA techniques” . . .

        Let me get this right here, are you saying what those (expletives deleted) did was right? Do you know just what you actually said?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I was reading you posting as advocating something as ‘right’ or ‘proper’ for people you don’t like or agree with – I apologize for the leap if that is what it is.

      • I didn’t get what you appear to be replying to from G.A.Rowe’s comment. What I read amounts to “perspective”. As for all the “play nice”, I can tell right away you don’t hail from a family actively involved in either the military or police. Get into the gutter most don’t want to believe exists for yourself, come back and preach of “playing nice”. Once again a matter of perspective.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          If you’ve read any of my postings you’ll know I come from a military family. I have also worked extensively with the military and associated agencies.

          • After Bosnia my brother had 20% of his men run out their contracts because of what they saw, had to do and more specifically what they couldn’t do to the laughing Serbs. I’m certain for those in logistics reenlistment wasn’t an issue. Once again using the term “military” is like saying “people”. I know soldiers who haven’t seen anything worse than a report, others who have seen nothing worse than a body and my brother and his men who have seen depravity on a scale to test anyone’s metal. Once again perspective.

  2. This subject irritates me. We do kindergarden torture and law makers screem foul. This is so dumb its beyond words. My Grandad went through 6 tours in nam and he told me about torture. What were doing is pre-school compared to what will happen to our service men and women if they get captured. Last I checked the good old USA never skinned anyone alive, riped out thier finger nails or toe nails, break fingers and toes etc. Our contry is going so far into apologizing to our enemies and appeasement that it makes me sick. If I hear one more time about Gitmo or how our soldiers are over there in Iraq abd Afganastan killing women and children I just might blow up on the next person who says that to me. My honest opinions are that my fellow americans have become weak willed so to speak weak in spirit and mind. We all want to win the war quickly with no american deaths. My fellow americans need to understand that freedom is not free.
    Service men and women have died to give us our freedoms and it is up to all of us to preserve our freedoms. If it take waterboarding or worse to find out were Mr.Extremest buddies are I’m all for it. The only time I would be against torture if it was used on our own citizens. For national defense it is a necessary tool and for all the bleeding hearts out there who thinks its bad and that alternate methods will work are all dreaming and need to wake up. I think I saw this topic on Hannity 3 nights ago and the bleed hearts of america claim sleep deprevation and lack of food and water while playing good cop and bad cop will get info without torture. My opinion is this is untrue and comical as I have stayed awake for a week and have gone without food and water before in regular trainning and it will not get you any information from the average enemy combatant. It amazes me how they would sacrifice our safty for political correctness. Also they seem to cover up fact that that many that were let go from gitmo were either re-captured or killed by our soldiers in battle shortly after being released. Now before I get torn up I’m not saying all detainees are gulty but many are. If they are so innocent why will no country take them in and why does Obamanot move them into his neighborhood if there all innocent. I think Obama rushed this shut down and has no Idea what to do with the detainees. Sorry about going off subject again and another lengthy post still mad and thinking on all this crap I keep seeing comming out of DC.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      So maybe we should up the ante and torture better than our competitors eh? I mean, hell, we do like to be number one in the world and why should we use kindergarten torture? When we stop holding ourselves to the higher standards we are capable of, then those standards become palatable not just to application abroad but application at home as well.

      • TexasChem says:

        In war standards do not exist. Ray,you can lay down and take it if you want but the survival instinct in most people will not allow that.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          It is disappointing that you feel there are ‘no rules of combat’. So it is okay then for folks like Hamas to use children as human shields eh? You said it – no rules. Kill ’em all and let god sort it out right?

          • kenneth arnold says:

            Guess what? Take it from a Vietnam vet. It was Kill or be Killed. That is total war. nothing nice about it.

  3. USW,
    I sincerely agree with everything you said. When it comes to moral relativism, it is absolutely necessary to follow a contextualist view of morals. Torture is really only justifiable when it is viewed in context. Sometimes the same torture just cannot make the cut when it does not save hundreds of innocent lives.

    I’m glad that you wrote this. I personally just wrote my highschool senior thesis on torture so I’ve got a lot to say about it. If you want it, I can email it to you.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      You scare the hell out of me. You are pre-supposing that there is knowledge to be gained from torture. Lets say we torture 10 people. Five of them provide us usable or credible information. The other five do not. In your example we are justified torturing all 10 because 50% of those we did torture gave us intel. There is a reason that compartmentalized security is used not only by countries such as the US but by terrorists as well.

      • CWO2USNRet says:

        Ray, you, in turn, are presupposing that we engage(d) in torture. Not a foregone conclusion.

      • Ray you are doing it again.

        Your hypothetical is not alluded to or referenced in either US’s article or the comment by David. So you create an antagonistic example to inflame and attack.

        It irritates the hell out of me and does nothing towards supporting the point I think you might be trying to make.

        Please respond to the actual comments not the ones you make up. If you want to posit a new thought start another thread.

        Please and Thank You
        JAC

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Well I guess I’ll just irritate the hell out of you then.

          When I read “a contextualist view of morals” my blood boils – we’re gonna decide post hoc an action as such is moral based on context? That was the reason for my example – sorry if that confused you.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            Ray,

            What you are saying is that when liberals offer a contextual view of morals to justify something you are in favor of it is ok, but when conservatives offer a contextual view of morals to justify something you are against, it is not ok.

            We get it.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              Such as?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Reread some of your own previous posts on various topics on this site. I am sure that you will find several examples of what I am talking about.

                What gets me is that when liberals feel that they hold claim to the “moral high ground” on an issue, they see that as a legitimate defense of that issue, but when conservatives feel that they hold claim to “the moral high ground” on an issue, liberals attack and assail that “moral high ground” and claim that the morals of the conservatives are antiquated and/or incorrect.

                If you wish, I will go ahead and peruse your previous posts for examples of this, but you might find it a more interesting excercise to do it for yourself.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Peter – wtf dude? I’m challenging the notion that “depending on context torture can be morally acceptable.” Torture is defined as something that is illegal – period. This argument was about who defines what ‘severe’ actually means. Now we’ve had someone interject that the law has no basis because it may be morally acceptable based on context and you’re assing out on me because I challenge this?

              • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

                Ray,

                So, your contention is that the techniques described above can actually be defined at torture and are therefore definitely illegal?

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Peter – this afternoon I went googling for polls – surely there must be something that says an overwhelming majority of Americans think this shit is wrong. Well – the polls appear to flux as much as the ideology of those taking the poll. But what cannot be ignored is that there is not an insignificant number of people that would define at least some of those practices as torture and therefore illegal.

      • Ray,
        A group of men have kidnapped your family and have already killed your wife. They are going to start killing your children next. Two suspects linked to the kidnapping have been captured and won’t give any information. Tell me, what would you do to save your children? I know I would do whatever it takes to obtain the information!

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I would let people that are trained and have more resources than I to do their jobs. If you’re suggesting I torture two “suspects” – I’m not sure what you mean then by suspects – perhaps they are as innocent as the next guy and they had no useful information anyway – was the torture worth it then?

          • kenneth arnold says:

            Prehaps you new they were. You would torture in a heartbeat to get your children back safe and sound.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              No I would not – I would let people trained to handle these situations that possess far more resources than I do to handle it.

              • You are what’s wrong with America today! Trying to be PC in a time of terrorism or war will never lead to victory or an end. I personally think we are being too nice to our enemies. I would personally torture anyone who would have info on a kidnapped family member without thinking twice about it.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                You make way too many assumptions and try to use half-cocked fantasies to prove a point. There is a reason that the preponderance of the civilized world has all agreed that torture, regardless of circumstance, is not just wrong but ILLEGAL. Its not be politically correct – its obeying the GD law.

              • And you’re all Facts and Reality? I respect your opinion but you seem to be a little spineless to me.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Jon – I also respect your opinion – I just choose to adhere unilaterally to the law as is – I’m not sure how/why that is spineless.

      • kenneth arnold says:

        If it saves thousand of lives with the 50%. Yes!

  4. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    This is off-topic for today, so I apologize for the thread hijack, but I felt it was important to bring up given all of the recent threads on socialism.

    I just heard/read last night and again today that under the new GM reorganization plan 90% of the company will be owned by a combination of the government and the UAW. How’s that for socialism?

    I guess at least 10% of the company will still be in private hands (I don’t consider ownership by the union as private ownership).

    Ok, enough of that. You guys can get back to the topic at hand. I have nothing to add to the posts on torture so far since they are very well thought out and I generally agree with them.

  5. Totally agree. The techniques described fall under the realm of advanced interrogation measures. I would have no problem administering them to the criminals myself, if I were in a position to do so. The politicization of this issue by the Obama administration and Congress borders on treason, in my estimation. If the release of this information results in the death of one US citizen, I hope that the American people put two and two together and demand that the responsible parties are held accountable, if only at the ballot box. Somehow I am not hopeful.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Please help me understand what “advanced interrogation methods” are on how it differs from torture? Please provide examples.

      • I believe you will find them listed in US’s article above, along with the “legal” definition of torture included in the treaty.

        Let’s reverse the question, what about the techniques listed above falls outside the “legal” definition included in the treaty?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Oh – the 14 above are the so-called advanced interrogation techniques? Ok – duh.

          “Let’s reverse the question, what about the techniques listed above falls outside the “legal” definition included in the treaty?”

          The memos were written, I believe, as an interpretation of 1.1 and 2 to specifically allow for any questionable techniques to be defined as torture – they backed into it. While some of the 14 appear less intrusive than others – ask yourself why is this so? Perhaps to make something like waterboarding appear less severe? You can slap as much condiment as you want on a shit sandwich and its still a shit sandwich.

          • You have once again avoided the question and diverted to a separate point, namely your opinion of what the lawyers intent was.

            Once again, what is it about each of the techniques described that you believe violates the treaty’s definition of torture? NOT YOUR DEFINITION but the one in the treaty language.

      • A bug in your room= AIM

        Pulling your fingernails out= torture

        Quite a lot of us (including myself) endured many of the “techniques” described above, or something similar, in grade school and high school. I didn’t exactly enjoy it, but it sure doesn’t constitute torture. My crime? I don’t know; growing up back in the day in the country and being exposed to the antics of other kids. It was called life.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I have an Aunt who owns a sailboat. As a teen I went sailing on a two-man boat in NC w/ someone who ‘knew how to sail’. We went out, he dropped a bunch of LSD, the wind died, we drifted, and he thought it was the funniest thing ever. We drifted for close to 10 hours in searing sun with no food and supply of fresh water that diminished rapidly. We were rescued by a shrimp boat at nearly midnight. To this day I am terrified of sailboats. My Aunt insists her boat is safe, has a motor, radios, etc. I don’t care – I will never get on that boat. If someone were to force me onto a sailboat, no matter the reason, I fear I would have a heart attack or completely wig out. AIM? Nope. Torture? You bet.

          • What? So you now have a phobia….certainly not torture.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              I’ll spoon feed it then – mention was made in the original post regarding the use of insects and someone’s known fear of them. Relative to someone forcing me onto a sailboat I would consider that torture.

              • They did not, however, actually use that method. Just making sure that is included in the discussion so that we are clear. In the end we don’t know whether it wasn’t used because it wasn’t needed or because these men on their own decided that it wasn’t within what they deemed acceptable.

          • Your friend did LSD, and you did . . . what?

            And YOU call what the NVA did “righteous”?

            Because you went out on a sailboat, did drugs, almost died from your own stupidity, NOW you would equate being put on a sail boat with torture?

            Don’t get me wrong, ray, I am not deriding you for having a different opinion than mine. I am pointing out that you have a serious problem that was caused by your use (your admission) of illegal narcotics sometime in you youth.

            My question to you is this; How many people MUST you sacrifice to those who only want you dead before you will say enough is enough? Or will it be enough when they come for you? Remember, when they come for you who will you ask/demand to save you from those who want you dead?

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              GA – you win today’s ‘jump to conclusions award’.

              As a member of an explorer post I placed my trust in a fellow member to teach me how to sail. He and I had done several adventures together and there was no reason for me to think I’d be led astray or something bad would happen. I knew he smoked pot but I wasn’t aware he was going to drop acid until we were on the boat and far out in the water. If that qualifies as ‘my own stupidity’ then we have very different definitions of stupidity.

              I’m not clear where I stated the NVA were righteous?

              If “How many people MUST you sacrifice to those who only want you dead before you will say enough is enough?” is meant to say that we may need to torture some innocent or ‘not as guilty’ people so we may get to the truth I can only offer that that perspective gives barbarism a bad name. I feel sorry for you that you feel that way.

              • When did an Aunt become a he?

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                My Aunt owns a sailboat she constantly tries to get me onto.

                The sailing experience I has was with another guy.

              • “the ‘rightness’ of NVA techniques ”

                Your statement copied and pasted here for your interpretation, which of course, will be much different than what is actually written.

                Ray, you can’t judge others from the actions of your own stupidity. What I experienced in the war I was in, is so closely paralleled to what is going on today that it brings back the nightmares that I have for so many years tried to get rid of.

                Anytime a group of (for lack of a more descriptive word) animals decides to hide behind a religious cult(my own interpretation) to kill as many innocent people as they possibly can for no other reason than some instruction in this religious cult’s manual for dealing death to those who will refuse to become slaves to this religious cult . . . Then I say it is long past time to declare “OPEN SEASON” on any member of that cult.

                Hate me for my opinion if you wish. I understand. I know that you have never been where I have been, nor have you seen the things that I have seen. I pray that you or anyone else ever do.

              • That should read “I pray that you or anyone else NEVER do.”

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                “Ray, you can’t judge others from the actions of your own stupidity” – are you f’ing kidding me? I guy I trusted that knew I trusted him put my life in jeopardy and I supposed to what – not have a f”ing opinion about it? What kind of bullshit is that?

                Your opinion is what it is and I shall not try and change it – folks get set a certain way and I shouldn’t hate you for it. But something you say strikes me. First off – I thank you for your service. Second – as my own Father put it – there are things that happen that are better left untouched and not discussed. It is what conflicts me much with the freedom of the press thingy.

          • Ray,

            You really sound like a wimp. Good grief, my daughter is tougher than that. We’ve all had unpleasant experiences in life. Some of us choose to face them and overcome. Others don’t, and that’s fine, but they shouldn’t feel entitiled to force those fears on the rest of us. Your post makes me think that your aren’t really a grown man, but more of a man boy. Is that the impression you want to give? The harsh methods don’t seem all that bad to me. Ive had similar stuff done to me and I survived. Only girlie-men couldn’t handle it.

            • USWeapon says:

              I wouldn’t say he is a wimp… at least not from what I know. If you are speaking of his fear of sailing because of a phobia, that is a bit unfair. I think it was a good example of how a simple act can cause a complex mental reaction. And that is a valid train of thought in terms of what we are discussing here.

              • USW,

                A wimp is someone who doesn’t face their fear. I have issues with small spaces. As part of my job, I am required to travel to another island on occasion. I travel via UH1 helicopter or by Fairchild Metro. For some reason, the UH1 doesn’t cause me much anxiety but the Metro, affectionately known here as the flying-cigar-tube-of-death, triggers a panic attack. But rather than tie myself in knots telling my boss why I can’t go, I take a few deep breaths, get on board, put on my safety belt, say a little prayer, and wait for the pilot to close the door. I use deep breathing exercises to stay calm during the flight. Each time I have to get on the aircraft, my anxiety is less and less. It is so because I face my fear/phobia. There’s a difference between being proactive and making an excuse. I could get out of doing the work on other islands, leaving my coworkers to carry my load. That is unacceptable to me. If I refused to get on the aircraft because of my phobia, I would be a wimp.

                I believe more people die in aircraft accidents than sailing accidents. Ray had a very unpleasant experience but survived and learned a valuable lesson about being out on the water without knowing how to sail or having at least one other person onboard knowing how to sail. I think Ray should try sailing again, with reliable people who know how to sail. He might find he rather enjoys it.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                My unpleasant experience is that (a) I felt I was going to die, (b) was severely sun burned (I still bear the scars), (c) and was hospitalized for 2 days due to severe dehydration. All from what was supposed to be a short and fun 2-3 sailing lesson that devolved into hours and hours of pure hell. I have since tried to go back onto a sailboat and nearly felt my heart jump thru my chest. Again – imp is that this was MY experience and I have dealt with it in a manner that works very well for me.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              Cyndi – I read your post early this am on my Blackberry and spent a 2 hour commute tossing different responses in my head. So…..

              1. The experience I had on the sailboat, at age 17, was fairly traumatic. I by no means intend to compare it to some of the atrocities the current and/or former military folks on this board have faced or seen. I cannot even imagine what they have had to endure and it is why when I see a military person on the street I thank them for their service. I merely offered an example of what a traumatic experience can do to a person and to offer as well a suggestion that relative to mental scars people bear, they can be very different person to person – and when used against that person could have terrible implications. What occurred to me 20+ years ago was horrible, I felt a palpable and very real fear that I was going to die. I’ve not used that experience as an excuse for any other bad thing that has happened to me in life – I’m not a big believer in victimology. What I have done is put that experience in a box and I simply know that me + sailboats don’t mix. Pretty simple and effective approach – even one my Aunt understands – and to me a sure sign I have dealt with the issue. Your the first person in 20 years to make light of the situation and refer to me as a wimp. I can only hope your daughter doesn’t learn such callousness from you or that she doesn’t experience something traumatic like being raped – else you refer to her as a wimp also in the event she can’t handle it as you may think she should;

              2. “Aren’t really a grown man” / “a man boy” / “girlie-man” – let me first state that if I ever given anyone on this board the impression that I have attacked them personally then I apologize here and now. I too can have emotion enter my responses from time to time – hopefully I have not resorted to silly childish name calling because I didn’t agree with something you said. Criticize the idea not the heart and soul of the person giving them. Having said this then – I’m not clear what you define as a man, but I do know that you know very little about me. As with others on this board I, from time to time, share snippets of my life so one may understand my views and why I may think the way I do. For example, 7 years ago my sister-in-law was diagnosed with a 2nd occurrence of cancer – determined to be eventually fatal. So that I could help her family and enable my wife to help take care of her sister I picked up two part-time jobs. If that makes me a ‘girlie-man’ than I am a proud one. I volunteer significant amounts of my time to Habitat for Humanity, a no-kill animal shelter and several other causes that simply need arms and legs – if that makes me a “man boy” then I am a proud one. I earn my living, am paying my way through a PhD program, look forward to becoming a teacher one day, have killed my own food with my bare hands and guile, and have contacted the IRS directly to have my tax obligation adjusted because I felt the tax accountant I had at the time was doing things inappropriately – if those things don’t garner me entrance into grown-manhood then I don’t want to be a grown man. Finally – I say what I mean and mean what I say – and I don’t hide behind nicknames or avatars or alternate identities when I tell people what I think. My first child is set to born in a month – a boy. I’m thrilled with the awesome responsibility to raise a child and can only hope to do the job my own Dad did. I don’t believe I am better than anyone else and certainly hope no one gets that impression from me. So – the net net for me here is – this is who I am – as tempting as it may be for me to call you names (quite a few ran through my head this a.m.) – I’ll take the higher road. Your posting speaks for itself.

              • Ray, Ray, ray,

                Did you even read my post? I did not call you a girlie man. I said that anyone who can’t handle the so called harsh interrogation practices couldn’t handle it. It seems I’ve touched a nerve. Why is that Ray? Do you question your manhood? You must, because you had an emotional reaction to my post. I am no one to you. I could die tomorrow and you’d never know the difference. Why did my opinion affect you so? Why do care what I think? Because the moral high is important to you?Am I callous, I don’t know. As for my daughter, if she is raped like I have been, I will understand very well how she feels. Now let me tell you a little about me. Iwas raised by an abusive alcoholic mother. I was in two abusive marriages. I endured 18 months of marital rape. I endured 10 of verbal and emotional abuse with threats of physical violence. I left before he could make good on the violence part of it. I put myself through college. I gave my sister a thousand bucks to keep her going until she got a job. I volunteer at the local women’s club to raise money for the schools on outlyng islands. I don’t care about claiming any moral high ground. You and anyone else can have that. I’ll just keeping doing for others, not being a door mat, and being a callous a$$hole. It works for me.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                You’re splitting hairs:

                “Your post makes me think that your aren’t really a grown man, but more of a man boy. Is that the impression you want to give? The harsh methods don’t seem all that bad to me. Ive had similar stuff done to me and I survived. Only girlie-men couldn’t handle it.”

                Okay – so you questioned whether I am a grown man and referred to me as a man boy but perhaps didn’t want to draw out specifically whether I am a girlie-man.

                I have no doubts whatsoever about my manhood, but will challenge people like you that play immature verbal gymnastics and insinuate or call outright that I am less of a person because I have handled a trauma different than you may – its like me suggesting that you deserved to be raped when I have zero right to judge your situation or how you felt about it. And to be clear – the notion that this is somewhat more than just a blog of bitching I take to mean that I do care at least a little what you think.

                Make sense?

      • I’d put it back to you here Ray and ask what you consider NOT to be torture? What do you have for us as a methodology of gaining information from a captured combatant? Details.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Please read the rest of the thread before you ask questions like this. I am not an interrogator and have limited experience in interviewing computer criminals. I can state that trust + being honest about consequences (and playing some of my evidence hand) has worked 100% of the time for me.

          • kenneth arnold says:

            It is not computer crime we are talking about. It is life and death!

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              Which is why I hoped someone from LE would weigh – information collection techniques, to my understanding, are the same regardless – but I am not the SME on the matter – nor does it appear you are.

  6. The defining of torture falls under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (signed by the US in 1988, and ratified in 1994). The definition of torture according to this document (and as noted agreed to by ratifying member USA) is:
    UN….THERE IN LIES THE WHOLE PROBLEM….and I do mean all of it.If we had guts enough to jump out of the UN we would be alot better off. We have sold our sovereignty and I have yet for the life of me figured out why.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      We ratified it because we agreed with it.

      • Yea our leaders agree to alot of stupid things….does not make it right…instead of you and me having the ability to control our government….we now have a government that answers to who? Not you and me…..and the UN always had this hollier than tho attitude….as many criminals in UN as there is in our government.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Amazed. I agree. I don’t know why we are in the UN to begin with. They are a World Joke and a toothless tiger.

    • I think a treaty that was signed in 1988 and then again in 1994 being used today is crazy! Do you really think any other country that signed it are following it also, or would in the same situation? Give me a break!

  7. Black Flag says:

    So let’s take a quick walk down morality lane so that I can give BlackFlag something to harp on. He could find immorality in me pinching myself

    No, no, no!

    Pinch self = Stupid, but OK

    Pinch ME = Stupid, not OK.

    😉

    Torture does not work. Any information derived by such means is worthless as is all coerced information. There is a reason it is not used in courts of law.

    Interrogation techniques properly done are incredibly worthwhile.

    Hanns Scharff was primarily an American 8th and 9th Air Force Fighter pilot interrogator.

    He was considered the best of the interrogators at Dulag Luft. He gained the reputation of magically getting all the answers he needed from the prisoners of war, often with the prisoners never realizing that their words, small talk or otherwise, were important pieces of the mosaic.

    It is said he always treated his prisoners with respect and dignity and by using psychic not physical techniques, he was able to make them drop their guard and converse with him even though they were conditioned to remain silent.

    One POW commented that “Hanns could probably get a confession of infidelity from a nun.” Hanns personally stepped in to search for information that saved the lives of six US POWs when the SS wanted to execute them.

    Many acts of kindness by Scharff to sick and dying American POWs are documented. He would regularly visit some of the more seriously ill POWs and arrange to make their accommodations more humane. At one time the Luftwaffe was investigating him.

    After the war, he was invited by the USAF to make speeches about his methods to military audiences in the US and he eventually moved to the United States. General Jimmy Doolittle was one of the first to extend the hand of friendship to Hanns after the war, inviting him to a luncheon where they compared notes. Later he was invited to the home of Col. Hub Zemke who thereafter would send Hanns what he called a “Red Cross Parcel” every Christmas. And 38 years after he was Hanns “guest” at Dulag Luft – Oberursel, Col. Francis “Gabby” Gabreski was a guest of honor at Hanns 75th birthday party. In the United States Scharff worked as a mosaic artist. His works are on display in Cinderella’s castle at Disney World.

    • Bama dad says:

      Agree Hanns was the best interrogator there was in WW2. He had time to work on his subjects because Germany was being bombed around the clock by the allies. His interrogations were not time sensitive. The terrorist interrogations were time sensitive as we were trying to disrupt unknown attacks.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        If they were unknown attacks how do you say they are ‘time sensitive’? Makes zero sense.

        • Bama dad says:

          Unknown as in “time”. Makes sense to me. I removed my blinders along time ago.

      • Black Flag says:

        How much time is lost chasing false information?

        Even Sun Tzu:
        The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept

        The reason is simple – if they are being treated captured BETTER than their own army, they tend to give up easily.

        There is a reason why Gulf War 1 had so many prisoners – they thought they’d be better treated under US command then Saddam.

        Now, we’ve ensured they’ll fight to the death.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Very well put – thank you.

        • Bama dad says:

          You are right when we talk about soldiers of an army. Terrorist are a different animal, they want to die. When I was in the military I did not want to die. As Patton said:
          You don’t win a war by dying for your country. You win by making the other poor dumb SOB die for his.

        • Black Flag says:

          You blindly apply your emotionalism to a problem, and as usual, come up with a wrong answer.

          No reasonable man wants to kill himself. They have family like you. They want to live like you.

          Placing such motivations as you’ve done will obscure reality and prevent actual solutions – and will create far greater problems.

          Terrorism is the weapon of the poor.

          Believe me, if they had a squadrons of Abrams Tanks and Blackhawks, they’d use them instead.

          But they don’t. They have their bodies. They’ll die by our bullets or they’ll die and take a few with them. We’ve forced them into that dichotomy.

          By ensuring there is no other choice – there is little surprise in the choice the pick.

          • esomhillgazette says:

            You are wrong BF, terrorists were thrying to kill Americans long before this and will be trying to kill us long after.

            The Fanatics out there do not care how good or bad we treat them. Their only care is how many of us they can kill.

            Jumping up and down about it is purely for news cameras, who you can bet are faithfully recording it all.

            • My goodness…they kill their own by the hundreds that do not believe the way they do….so the justification is what BF? That argument does not hold.

          • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

            “No reasonable man wants to kill himself. They have family like you. They want to live like you.”

            BF, you are confusing homicide bombers with reasonable men. Obviously a great many of them DO want to kill themselves. Many of them have a belief that in doing so they are martyring themselves for their religious beliefs. To them, perhaps, this is actually reasonable behavior, but it certainly contradicts the idea that “they want to live like you.”

            As a matter of fact, the fact that you live as you do is what makes them want to kill you (and kill themselves in so doing).

            Also, the fact that you advocate that no one use violence against the non-violent is anathema to their current belief system. They believe that violence against anyone (whether they are individually violent or non-violent) is the way to achieve their goals.

            If you personally were killed by a terrorist attack tomorrow, they would not mourn because they attacked and killed a non-violent man, they would rejoice.

          • “No reasonable man wants to kill himself. They have a family like you. They want to live like you”

            If they wanted to live they would not strap on bombs or fly planes into buildings. They are driven by Religious passion that makes them unreasonable. If suicide is a poor mans way of war what of the Japanese of WW2?

          • Black Flag says:

            As long as you apply motives to others that you could not apply to yourself you will always misunderstand your enemy.

            If you do not understand your enemy, you have lost half the battle.

            They are not trying to kill me. They don’t enough about me to kill me.

            They are trying to kill what I may represent to them. I am, to them, as faceless as they are to you.

            Doesn’t make them right and them being wrong doesn’t make you right either.

            As far as killing themselves – they are in a civil war, and they are still poor. If they had tanks and helicopters, they’d be using them to kill each other (and us) instead.

            Do not confuse their choice of weapons as anything meaningful.

            See that they are using weapons against us (and their civil enemies).

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              The point that you are missing (wildly) is that they place a very high value on dying for their religion.

              Thus, to them, it is highly favorable to take themselves out in the process of taking as many of us out as possible.

              If they had tanks, helicopters, and planes, it is highly likely that they would use them in suicide (homicide) attacks just like they currently use a truck filled with explosives or their own bodies strapped full of bombs.

            • Black Flag says:

              No, sir, no more than you die for your religion.

              And ‘taking out’ as many of ‘their enemy’ as possible…isn’t that what our soldiers do too?

              And when they did have tanks, etc. they did not strap on bombs to their bodies. I think you aren’t really looking into battle history very well at all.

              Trucks with bombs are not tanks with shells.

              They do with what they have – and it isn’t very much.

              • TexasChem says:

                It was enough to kill 3,000 Americans on American soil.Thats enough for me.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                I, my friend, am not taught from birth that dying for my religion is a good thing. They are.

                They are mostly ignorant and poor, and kept that way purposely by the fanatical mullahs who “Teach” them that it is good and just to die in the will of Allah. Inshallah.

                The infidel must submit to the will of Allah or die. That BF, is just plain scary. and A-holes like those 3 waterboarded boneheads are the ones who led the other poor ignorant idiots to fly planes into the Towers and the Pentagon and the ground.

        • Not particularly. You are not dealing with those who chose “army” as a career or those who were conscripted and don’t want to be there in the first place. You are dealing with those who have chosen “god” and “his will” above all else including their family. When comparing regular soldiers to religious extremists you must go back to the crusades in order to see their equal. Imagine if you possibly can what a zealot is willing to do for his god. Its not the same mindset by any stretch of the imagination.

  8. Black Flag says:

    First point was torture does not work since the information is worthless.

    Second point, prohibition on torture is not to make the lives of prisoners better, but to make the lives of our men who are prisoners better. We did not torture so to help ensure our guys were not tortured.

    But now that is out the window.

    I pity anyone captured now.

    • BF…that was out the window…long ago. You would not be correct to assume that if we did not torture no one else would torture either. Somehow I just am not sure it works that way.

    • Bama dad says:

      So BF are you saying our people were treated well before the release of these documents and that now they will be treated worse? Getting your head sawed off with a dull kitchen knife seems pretty bad to me.

    • Black Flag says:

      Obviously, gentlemen, that others don’t play nicely.

      That does not mean WE should play badly.

      Giving our ‘enemy’ more excuses only ensures worse treatment.

      (PS: I love poker players like you guys – you watch other players play badly and get lucky and so, you guys think that’s a good strategy too!!)

      • Bama dad says:

        Never played poker, wouldn’t know how.

      • Black Flag says:

        Good choice.

      • You read me wrong friend.

      • Black Flag says:

        I doubt it.

        Holding the moral high-ground is vital in acting moral.

        The US has lost tremendous goodwill in the world because of its torture and its rendition. We lost valuable friends and gained disgusting ones.

        The trade-off will haunt us for decades.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          What Friends? What Goodwill?

          • Black Flag says:

            Exactly, sir, exactly.

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              BF,

              You seem to be under the delusion that other countries would be all nicey-nicey with us if we simply treated them with dignity and respect regardless of how they treated us. Suddenly all would be roses and sunshine and we would earn their respect and they would treat us with dignity simply because that was how we treated them.

              In reality this would seem to them to be a great sign of weakness, and they already view us as weak and spineless. In all likelyhood, many countries that despise us would see this sort of behavior on our part as deference bordering on capitulation and see it as evidence that the time to strike and strike HARD was now!

              It is unfortunate that by being nice to them they wouldn’t suddenly see what great people we are and realize that there was no reason to hate us, but you see, they see us as The Great Satan, and no matter how nice Satan is to them, I doubt that they are going to magically change their toon and start hanging out with Satan at the bar and having a beer with him.

              “Hey Great Satan, I thought you were just totally evil and horrible and all I ever wanted was to kill you, but now that you decided to be nice to me, I can see the error of my ways!”

              Yeah, that’ll happen.

            • Black Flag says:

              No sir.

              Us playing nice does not guarantee anything.

              However, it most certainly helps if and when we ask others for help.

              Few men wish to aid those that are perverse and evil.

              Many will help those who behave morally and act honorably.

        • Perhaps…but some people hold other people to standards that they themselves will not uphold…..it is always easy to condem when you do not wear another shoes…..I try real hard not to make another uphold my morals….because if I do then someone else may try to drag me down to theirs. I believe that humans will do what is necessary to survive, and to protect their off spring. Most of the governments who scream the loudest are more guilty of atrocities than the US…..alot of governments would love to see the US blackened….and yes it is important that we prevent that.

          • Black Flag says:

            We are in error if we excuse our behavior based on the behavior of others.

            To do what is right, when doing right is the hardest thing to do, is the measure of both man and nation.

    • TexasChem says:

      Torture does work BF.

  9. Bama dad says:

    USW
    Great post, I agree with you almost 100%. I feel the de-classification and release of the CIA documents about interrogation techniques was purely a political move by Obama to please the far left base of his supporters. Because of this he will never release the documents that show if the interrogation techniques where successful. My reason for this opinion is he first said we were going to look ahead and not back; even Holder was on TV saying the same thing. Well all it took was a lot of whining from the left and 2 days later they were singing a different tune. The dems in congress are whining they want to see justice done (bull all they want is to beat on repubs). The repubs are running around like Chicken Little saying the sky is falling and not offering any solutions. Who’s running the government? NO ONE. Like you say USW they are all crooks.

    Now that I have ranted a little bit I’ll get back on subject. The methods used in the interrogations were not torture, unpleasant but not torture. And please don’t give me all that due process of law stuff, these are not criminals/soldiers these are terrorist. I know that we are a nation based on laws and moral principles and that people have rights but as dad once said “If you have to get in the pig pin and wrestle with the hogs to catch one you are going to get dirty.”

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Simulating drowning isn’t torture eh?

      “The sensation of drowning is immediately relieved by the removal of the cloth.” – really? I wonder if the lawyer that wrote that was ever waterboarded?

      “Although the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death, prolonged mental harm must nonetheless result to violate the statutory prohibition infliction of severe mental pain or suffering”

      Ok – they are not saying prolonged mental harm does not come as a result – but how the hell are we to measure this? Where are the criteria?

      • Bama dad says:

        Where is the criteria that says is does?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          That’s my point! You don’t know what the impact of such a technique is yet its stated that it is torture if it does result in prolonged harm!

          • CWO2USNRet says:

            We do know the long term effects of waterboarding. We’ve been conducting and documenting this on our own personnel for decades. There is a large body of evidence that was consulted.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              Hmmmmm – before I say ‘well alrighty then – we’re good!’ I’d be very suspect of methodology and approach and if the test conditions are comparable to what was done to the captured individuals. It is HIGHLY circumspect then that several administrations before Cheney-Bush took the alternate view that this was not a reasonable/appropriate/legal method to use.

              • Once again perspective. What was Bush/Cheney reacting to that other presidents were not?

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                I’d love to know! Else we’re left to wonder if they were as f’d up as the MTM makes them to be.

      • RWBoveroux says:

        Ray:

        Have YOU ever been waterboarded? You hold to a position that since the author of that sentence may not have been through this process, he can not judge whether or not it is torture. Therefore the converse must be true. If you have not been through this process, then where is your supporting evidence that this is torture?

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          No more than we don’t execute Supreme Court judges so they can decide what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. We rely upon fact, social mores and norms, prior guidance, philosophical foundations and the will of the people (among other things).

          Perhaps in a physiological sense the sensation is removed but mentally that scar can last for years. I nearly drown twice as a child – once in an accident the other intentionally. That stays with you for a very long time.

  10. Ray Hawkins says:

    “Not a single one of these techniques causes permanent damage.”

    – Is that according to you or the lawyers that wrote the memos?

    “So the bottom line for me, with morality out of the picture, is that I would not define the techniques that are listed above as severe”

    – Its your blog, thus your opinion

    “So long as the techniques did not result in permanent harm, they were bad people with information about the impending deaths of hundreds of innocent people. I know this might be dipping into the land of moral relativism, so I am open to debate on this. But this is my initial thought.”

    – What says they did not result in permanent harm? A White House lawyer? That sounds like the argument the military has usde for years to deny PTSD. Were they bad people? Most likely. Did they have additional information about impending deaths? According perhaps only to Dick Cheney.

    “Former VP Cheney referenced such memo’s last week and asked for them to be released as the other side of the issue. If those documents exist there is no reason not to release them. After all, that information would be irrelevant now as the disasters would have already been averted.”

    – This will be a ‘showstopper’ point because your argument is based on the assessment that the techniques are not torture.

    “If this is determined to be torture it is clear that the law requires that this be prosecuted. And all the little crying Democrat bitches in Congress and scream with joy and talk about how bad the Republicans are…..”

    – Now it sounds like you’re not sure if it was torture or not or else you want an “out” to say post hoc that you didn’t say it absolutely was or was not torture. Which is it? Plus – its odd how a piece on what I believe are ‘crimes against humanity’ devolves and decomposes into more ‘I hate government’ rhetoric.

    Of continued interesting note to me is that the memos were painstakingly written by LAWYERS. Why you ask? If the the theory were so simply and sound then why the overbearing manner to attempt to legally cover your ass? With all apologies this is one of the worst pieces I think I have ever read. It is insulting to place our great country at the same level of the Viet Cong, Al Qaeda and the Taliban (and others) in trying to justify why this was a necessary approach. While there is little to no science I am aware of that is publicly available, I can upon what the interviewed SMEs have offered – and that is that the harsher of the techniques listed above provide no more assurance of information collection that other less invasive and morally ambiguous approaches.

    The memos should have been de-classed because the cat is already out of the bag folks. This is where I support the man 1000%. For a board full of posters pontificating about responsiblity and accountability I’m dismayed that there is such thought as to we need to mulligan this whole thing and move right on along.

    • Ray….I am not trying to pick a fight….I believe you to be very moral and your arguments are good….but I do have a question.
      Your young 8 year old daughter has just been kidnapped by someone…taken from your front yard. The neighbor see the whole thing and tells you they saw it, they know who the man is, know that he is a known child rapist, knows the color of the vehicle, LPN, and knows where the man took your daughter. You suspect your daughter is in very grave danger but the neighbor refuses to give you any info. What exactly would you be capable of doing to get the info you needed to save your daughter’s life? I can think of other senerios that might cause me to torture someone.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Sure – I can cook up any far-fetched scenario that may seem to legitimize torture. Maybe if I torture the boogey-man he’ll tell me where she was taken.

        • The inverse is true also. I could easily spin my time as a 12 year old with cancer into doctors enjoying their guinea pig as opposed to them trying to save my life. Anything can be twisted by anyone at any time and usually is at the very least bent by their beliefs.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            I’m not the one who posed the ridiculous question. Sorry but I am an absolutist on this.

            • kenneth arnold says:

              Just short sighted is all. That’s all right. You can think any way you want and we can think the other side. That’s the American way. I think your wrong. You think I am wrong. So be it.

      • Black Flag says:

        Ray’s point is very important.

        One can create any hypothetical situation to appear to justify any action – because the entire situation cannot be determined.

        How about I say that you torture your neighbor and he puts you on a two-week wild goose chase. Was torture worth it?

        • RWBoveroux says:

          BF:

          If ANYONE bases their entire investigation on the information from ONE person regardless of how that information is obtained, the person doing the investigation is STUPID!!

          While avoiding the issue of whether or not these techniques are legal for a minute, I find it rather interesting that those who oppose these techniques are assuming that there is no verification going on. If person X tells you Y, you do not change your entire operation based on that one piece of information. You go and find an INDEPENDENT source and confirm or deny the information.

          So given the situation above, I would not be running around for two weeks on a wild goose chase.

        • My question has nothing to do with justify an action….my question is how far do you go when? To some people there is no reason ever to justify Torture….none. To other people it maybe a necessary evil in some situtations. I want to know if it is never acceptable to him….or if it is acceptable under certain conditions? People react differently in different situations….some people might choke the man down immediately to obtain the answers he wants….will it do any good? Who knows until the outcome is reached…did they find the child or not. If it works some would say he was justified….if it didn’t work some would say it was stupid, just showed he was as brutal as the perp.

          • Black Flag says:

            Exactly. Therefore, torture is merely a tool of revenge.

            Make them hurt as much as you hurt.

            Start digging those two graves.

        • Black Flag says:

          RW

          What part of “goose chase” did you miss?

          If you have to spend time validating information – as you claim – and it is wrong; you just walked the goose, friend.

          And if you do validate the information from torture, you prove my point #2.

          Torture was unnecessary since you claimed you confirmed the tortured information via other means!

          No matter how you cut this cake, the use is torture was a tactic of revenge.

          That is all it is and ever is.

        • TexasChem says:

          Grey agin no black and white.

    • USWeapon says:

      With all apologies this is one of the worst pieces I think I have ever read. It is insulting to place our great country at the same level of the Viet Cong, Al Qaeda and the Taliban (and others) in trying to justify why this was a necessary approach.

      Tell me how you really feel. With all apologies, that is not what was done above. I justified nothing. I asked questions to determine if the law was broken and gave my very abbreviated opinion on some of them. Sorry you found that to mean that I equated us to those other groups or that my article somehow said torture is justified. However, you saying x is torture when I say it is not, does not mean that when I say x is OK, I justify torture. Keep that in mind.

      Plus – its odd how a piece on what I believe are ‘crimes against humanity’ devolves and decomposes into more ‘I hate government’ rhetoric.

      It was a piece where I tried to cover many different aspects of the interrogation debates all at once. One part of that is whether the prosecutions being discussed should be done. It wasn’t a “I hate government” rant, it was a recognition that it is being done as a political stunt by politicians, who are not at all interested doing what is “right”. Pointing out hypocrisy bothers you?

      I said: “Former VP Cheney referenced such memo’s last week and asked for them to be released as the other side of the issue. If those documents exist there is no reason not to release them. After all, that information would be irrelevant now as the disasters would have already been averted.”

      You said: This will be a ’showstopper’ point because your argument is based on the assessment that the techniques are not torture.

      What are you talking about? One has nothing to do with the other. Techniques are torture or they are not torture. That has nothing to do with the release of the documents. My statement above was that if there are documents that show the results of these techniques, they should be declassified too. Why? Not because certain results would justify anything or be a show stopper. Because a calculated refusal to show any positive result implicates that the release of these documents was a political move, not a moral one, as you would claim.

      Now it sounds like you’re not sure if it was torture or not or else you want an “out” to say post hoc that you didn’t say it absolutely was or was not torture. Which is it?

      It is either torture or it is not. Let’s be clear Ray, I am not on trial here. So I don’t need an out. That the techniques above are not torture is my opinion and nothing more. The statement was “if it is determined to be torture, then they should and will be prosecuted”. It is a recognition that it is not me who gets to decide whether it is torture and a recognition that if those are authorized to make that call determine my interpretation is wrong, then I fully support prosecution under the law. As for the crying bitches in Congress, as I said before, just pointing out the hypocrisy, sorry you take it personally.

      Did they have additional information about impending deaths? According perhaps only to Dick Cheney.

      I didn’t say they did or didn’t. What I did say is that if there were positive results from these techniques they should say so and release those documents too. If nothing else, it would shut up those like you who keep claiming that there is no benefit to the techniques and they only produce bad information.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Net net – lots of opinion – muddled approach but surely a passionate topic. I just cannot help noticing as I am wont to do that rare is the post that doesn’t find a way to throw all those darned Democratic dickheads into the soup as well – it just seems trite – like you have a checklist that requires some licks on Pelosi et al. (and notice also that you’ll often refer to the ‘bad guys’ in Congress then mention only Democratic names (usually). I think its your sub leaking out – but hey – its your blog dude).

  11. Black Flag says:

    …though some of the technique does cause a smirk….

    …The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem’s “Slim Shady” album. The music was so foreign to them it made them frantic, sources said. ….

    But the problem with torture – even ‘enhanced’ techniques – causes death.

    They say the death occurred when the prisoner was left to stand naked throughout the harsh Afghanistan night after being doused with cold water. He died, they say, of hypothermia.

    …detainee died following harsh interrogation by Department of Defense personnel

    …at least as many as 46 detainees have been tortured to death in U.S. custody…

    So, the UN Convention states….

    ..other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses… of which Waterboarding easily qualifies.

    Further, the US Field Manuals specifically forbid and declares these acts illegal….

    * Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner.
    * Placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes.

    In 1983 Texas sheriff James Parker and three of his deputies were convicted for conspiring to use waterboarding to force confessions. The complaint said they “subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning.” The sheriff was sentenced to ten years in prison, and the deputies to four years.
    * Applying beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain.
    * Waterboarding
    * Using military working dogs.
    * Inducing hypothermia or heat injury.
    * Conducting mock executions.
    * Depriving the detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care.

    And as I said before, the problem with torture is the application of revenge torture upon our personal.

    If the US feels the need to redefine the terms by which describes torture so to allow them the right to inflict it upon prisoners, then others will redefine the terms too.

    That darn Law of Mutuality always comes back and bites those that think they can do harm.

    • CWO2USNRet says:

      “They say the death occurred when the prisoner was left to stand naked throughout the harsh Afghanistan night after being doused with cold water. He died, they say, of hypothermia.”

      They? Who’s the infamous They? If this story is real and the prisoner was in US custody then the US personnel responsible should be prosecuted. Safety standards were not followed.

      “…detainee died following harsh interrogation by Department of Defense personnel”

      Need details. Perhaps the detainee had a heart attack or tripped and fell down the stairs. This anecdote doesn’t prove your point at all.

      “…at least as many as 46 detainees have been tortured to death in U.S. custody…”

      Bulldookey. Again, an inflammatory statement with no supporting facts.

      “Further, the US Field Manuals specifically forbid and declares these acts illegal….”

      The US Army Field Manual is for use by uniformed military personnel who fall under the jurisdiction of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). For a soldier to use some of these techniques may be illegal under the UCMJ. However, the debate centers on CIA interrogators using these techniques. They are not subject to the UCMJ. The law defined above applies to them.

      • Black Flag says:

        Safety standards or not, if the torture was not done, the death would not occur.

        Like juggling knifes, if you don’t want to get stabbed, don’t juggle.

        As far as “facts”, I assume you believe I’ve made these up to annoy you.

        However, they are readily researchable – use Google.

        The fact that the military condemns these actions as illegal presents a powerful case that they are, indeed, illegal and immoral.

        Yes, keep dancing…..

        • CWO2USNRet says:

          BF, I’m sure you didn’t make these up. As for Googling, I believe very little of what I read and see on the internet. It’s a notoriously unreliable source. We can’t even rely on the news media for proper journalistic standards such as fact checking, independent corroboration, and looking for the underlying agenda.

          Facts are hard to come by.

          • Black Flag says:

            When the source is the FBI and CIA, discussing themselves in a unfavorable light, I’ll take it that it is near the truth.

  12. Black Flag says:

    …though some of the technique does cause a smirk….

    …The detainees were also forced to listen to rap artist Eminem’s “Slim Shady” album. The music was so foreign to them it made them frantic, sources said. ….

    But the problem with torture – even ‘enhanced’ techniques – causes death.

    They say the death occurred when the prisoner was left to stand naked throughout the harsh Afghanistan night after being doused with cold water. He died, they say, of hypothermia.

    …detainee died following harsh interrogation by Department of Defense personnel

    …at least as many as 46 detainees have been tortured to death in U.S. custody…

    So, the UN Convention states….

    ..other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses… of which Waterboarding easily qualifies.

    Further, the US Field Manuals specifically forbid and declares these acts illegal….

    * Forcing the detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner.
    * Placing hoods or sacks over the head of a detainee; using duct tape over the eyes.

    * Applying beatings, electric shock, burns, or other forms of physical pain.
    * Waterboarding
    * Using military working dogs.
    * Inducing hypothermia or heat injury.
    * Conducting mock executions.
    * Depriving the detainee of necessary food, water, or medical care.

    Use of the technique has been shown illegal inside the USA
    In 1983 Texas sheriff James Parker and three of his deputies were convicted for conspiring to use waterboarding to force confessions. The complaint said they “subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning.” The sheriff was sentenced to ten years in prison, and the deputies to four years.

    And as I said before, the problem with torture is the application of revenge torture upon our personal.

    If the US feels the need to redefine the terms by which describes torture so to allow them the right to inflict it upon prisoners, then others will redefine the terms too.

    That darn Law of Mutuality always comes back and bites those that think they can do harm.

  13. CWO2USNRet says:

    BF employs the rhetorical technique of presenting as fact his opinion that the interrogation techniques we employed were torture. He then goes on to describe how torture is bad and, by extension, our interrogation techniques.

    Whether or not these techniques constitute torture is certainly a matter of opinion, not fact, that reasonable poeple can debate. Those of us with experience with the dark side of humanity almost universally agree that we did not engage in torture. Anyone who has gone through Basic Training or pledged a frat has experienced worse.

    • Black Flag says:

      What is interesting is what you call ‘opinion’ happens to be stated to be, specifically, against the law.

      Because you seem to enjoy the feeling of being drowned does not make the technique ‘right’, legal and not torture.

      Machocists nor Sadists do not get to chose my experience.

      • CWO2USNRet says:

        I certainly agree that no one should get to choose your experience as that is violence against you.

        Not sure which of the techniques are specifically against the law. It seems to be entirely debatable. If you plan on quoting the Army Field Manual as the legal standard then see my earlier response as regards the UCMJ.

        • Black Flag says:

          Quoting such authority is significantly more powerful than simply denying it.

          The military doctrine of the USA condemns these acts as ‘torture’.

          I guess unless you achieve …how many hands do you need?…unanimous? 50%, 20%, 85%?

          How many people need to tell you something is wrong before you figure it out for yourself?

          • USWeapon says:

            Let’s be clear that the army field manual, despite the claims of those in the press and politicians, is NOT meant to govern interrogation. It is a field manual meant to guide soldiers who take prisoners so that they don’t mis-treat prisoners prior to those prisoners being turned over to those who have the authority or training to conduct interrogation.

            • Black Flag says:

              Fair point – however, it does establish that such actions are ‘illegal’ – and it would be rather strange to make such actions legal somewhere else – not impossible, but just bizarre.

      • CWO2USNRet says:

        I haven’t been waterboarded. I’m quite sure I wouldn’t like it. I’m also quite sure it would do me no lasting harm.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          As mentioned above I nearly drown twice as a child. It stays with you a very long time.

        • Black Flag says:

          I, too, have drowned once as a kid (I’m a rock – I can lie on the bottom of a pool with a full breath of air).

          For me, I didn’t get scared – I slipped into the deep end by accident. I tried to swim to the edge, but like a submarine, slowly continued to sink and struggle until it got warm and dark – when a man grabbed me and pulled me up while saying “Having trouble breathing, son?”.

          It made me VERY cautious around water (which is why I’d rather fly).

          • Black Flag says:

            (It is also why, later in life, I disobeyed a direct order regarding entering the water, which as a consequence kept me able to save the lives of 13 others)

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Good Post CWO2. I know I certainly went through worst than that in Basic Training in the Standard U.S. Army. I got worse than that with paddlings in school.

      IMO, anyone who has a problem with the way those prisoners were treated is naive about the rest of the world and whether they care or not. The others who capture our people will not be one bit better or worse on them than they already are. Only the US would call that torture. The rest of them are probably laughing themselves to death at the idea of how we “Torture” prisoners.

      I’m going to go ahead and admit that I personally could care less how they got the information out of the detainees. We needed info, we got it. I think it should be kept in mind that this was just after a devastating attack on the Continental United States. They were trying to prevent further attacks on us.

      Military Justice is not the same as Civilian Justice. All of the current detainees are going to be released, most likely on our streets, because we are going to try them in Civilian Court. That has to be the most asinine things Obama has done in his short Presidential Career.

      Right up there with it is releasing those Top Secret Memos. That was just plain stupidity! Does the man have no sense of National Security? No. He Doesn’t. The only sense of anything that he has is Political Gain and what will get him the most of same. That is the ONLY reason he did it. Once again he is playing the flip-flop game. First he’s not going to allow anyone to prsecuted. The next day he is. We don’t need to look back. The next day we do. Make up your frickin’ mind!!!

      Pelosi says she had no knowledge. The people involved say she and other Democrats did know and are going to start nameing names. When this was done in 2002 no one had a problem with it, and now Washington, both dems and reps, are zipping around trying to cover their asses!

      And worst of all. We are not talking about prosecuting the actual perpetrators of this. NO. We’re going after the officials who gave “Advice” to the White House that it was okay. The current Administration is going to gut the intelligence community like hogs. At this rate Terrorism on American soil is just aroung the corner. And just like the last time. There’ll be no intelligence assets to discover it before it happens. Way to go Obama!!

  14. I did expect to see more intense torture then was listed. I understand why it happen, but dont think it was right. If that makes sense. We all realize that what these people do agaisnt our military is beyond words. But I have always felt that we needed to act above that. I am pretty sure people from both sides of the line understand what was happening. I feel that going after people now is a waste of time. It will become a witch hunt, with the typical scapegoat. Lets put a period on it and move forward. There is several important issues that need our attention right now.

  15. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    We need to ask ourselves; would we allow ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ to save our children? If you answered ‘yes’, why wouldn’t you allow it to save someone else’s children.

    I was surprised at the care that was taken to ensure that the detainees weren’t permantely damaged. I was expecting much worse and was surprised that Obama would actually use this as evidence of torture. Maybe Daniel Pearl’s wife should be asked if she thinks it’s torture.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      How are you assessing that no one was permanently damaged? To legitimize what we have done with happened to Daniel Pearl is disgusting.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Disgusting was a family having to watch your Son, Husband, Father’s head sawed off on the Internet. I hate to tell you Ray, but that one act would have legitimized whatever happened to the terrorists to me.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Eye for an eye eh?

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Ray you said legitimizing what we’ve done with what happened to Daniel Pearl was disgusting.

            What I’m saying is; tell that to Daniel Pearl’s Family.

            And yes. I guess that’s exactly what I’m saying. If he had been in my family, I would have wanted the whole country turned into a radioactive parking lot.

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        No, I am assessing that Daniel Pearl was permanently damaged. In comparison, being put in a box with a caterpillar is a joke.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          I’m terrified of sailboats (for a reason I state elsewhere herein) – I guess if I am forced onto a sailboat that would be a joke eh?

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            OK, let’s delve into the world of ‘what if’s’.
            What if the CIA and other organizations did not participate in enhanced interrogations and there was anotherterrorist attack, would you be willing to say ‘good job’ to the interrogators for following the army field manual, but too bad for those poor dead souls who died in the attack?

            • Black Flag says:

              What if, by refusing using torture compels others to come foward willing (like Gulf 1, where they surrender to camera crews)?

              Wouldn’t that be even better?

              • Bama dad says:

                Again confusing soldiers with terrorist, different animal.

              • Black Flag says:

                Really?

                Just different weapons…

              • Bama Dad says:

                In Gulf 1 Iraqi soldiers surrendered to camera crews because they had been abandoned in the desert and were short/out of food and water. They had also seen how inferior their equipment and training was when compared to the US military. It would be a real stretch to say they surrendered because of how sweet or moral we were.

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            Sorry, the last response was for BF

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            Ray,
            being forced on a sailboat compared to h aving your head cut off. You tell me.

            Please don’t get me wrong, phobias are horrible things, but we are comparing two different things here.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              I was comparing the insect thing which some folks think is a joke. I do not. When something of terror occurs to you it leaves an indelible mark that may never be removed.

        • It should be noted that, while approved, this particular technique was to be used on one person, Zubaydah. And it was never used.

    • Black Flag says:

      The appeal for revenge will devastate this country – as it is being destroyed now.

      “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves”

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        This is not about revenge. I think you are forgetting how terrified people were after 9/11. Stories were abound about other attacks. If you polled Americans on 9/12 and the week after regarding enhanced interrogation, EVERYONE would have been for it to prevent another attack. Easy to say it’s revenge after 8 years of relative safety.

        • Black Flag says:

          Yes, that is a probable response of many to such an event.

          That is why, as a civilized people, we condemn those who act carelessly in response to tragedy. We do not support the person, who after a horrific loss of a loved one, goes and seeks revenge or retribution callously.

          We have built systems which forces the injured to steady themselves, contemplate, and justly act within their rights.

          We should have done the same as a nation.

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            Let’s try this again.

            OK, let’s delve into the world of ‘what if’s’.
            What if the CIA and other organizations did not participate in enhanced interrogations and there was anotherterrorist attack, would you be willing to say ‘good job’ to the interrogators for following the army field manual, but too bad for those poor dead souls who died in the attack?

          • Black Flag says:

            See above – but the ‘what-ifs’ are futile.

            I can ‘what if’ not torturing gives us better information then the lies uttered under torture and instead of chasing gooses we actually got real info and acted on it.

            Bee, that is why hypothetical about specific circumstances are worthless.

            You cannot describe all the necessary parameters – because there is no human way to know them all – so to be able to discern – hypothetically – the proper response.

            The same exists in planning for the future. We simply do not know.

            Therefore, what do we do to prepare us for action?

            We CHOSE THE MORAL PATH.

            Again, I use poker.

            Yes, you can play badly and get lucky and win.

            You can play good and get unlucky and lose.

            But if you play badly, in the long term, you will be a loser.

            If you play good, in the long term, you will be a winner.

            There is no way in poker I can tell you that in the next hand, if you play well you’ll win. I have no idea – the hand will need to be played and at the conclusion of the hand I can tell if you win or not. But not before.

            But because I cannot tell you if you will, in the next hand, win or not while playing good or bad, I can tell you over your play for a year playing badly will cause you to lose and playing good will cause you to win.

            To pervert one’s morals for short term gain will lose the game in the long run.

          • Your right BF, we give that power to something called govt in order to prevent knee jerk reactions by individual citizens.

            Ohhhh Great Big Smile
            JAC

            • Black Flag says:

              That is a mistake, since that power exists in the People already.

              By allowing the distant evil to judge us, we are being judged by evil.

              And then some wonder why tyranny grows.

  16. Once again no offense but to talk about revenge torture? Are you serious?
    American soldiers have been getting tortured/beaten/forced to make untrue video statments from forign governments who capture them for years. Some countries didn’t torture thier US captives and only handed them over safley to show that they could have to humilate the US or to show that they are not savages, and for political favors. Last I checked as I stated above we do not break bones, cut off limbs, skin people etc. I can live with torture that causes no harm after waterboarding if you were released you could go home and proivide for your family and still function as a human being. The opposit if you were skinned partially had arms removed, beaten regularly with no medical attention you would have years of PTSD and not function as your used to or be able to provide for yourself or family. Remeber during the elction year it was disgusting to see people hold Jhon McCain’s old injuries from torture against him. Its hard for me to get worked up over waterboarding and call foul. USWeaon correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there a threat that was averted in LosAngelos CA due to information gained from waterboarding. I think what Cheney was refering to was this and other crackdowns and deportation that occured after the FBI/CIA investigated the infornmation obtained and fould it not only true but scarey. I would like to see it released as well if its no longer relevant and has been stopped that way the american people will no longer believe the lie that the past administration didn’t keep us safe. The truth is that they did and did a good job of it.

  17. Ray Hawkins says:

    “I can live with torture that causes no harm after waterboarding if you were released you could go home and provide for your family and still function as a human being”

    Now you are redefining torture?

  18. Once again no offense to anyone I may not be as educated as some on the forum in definitions and word usage but I’m not tryin g to redefine torture to me if they can walk away after waterboarding in the same condition before they under went it it is hard for me to call it torture. As I have stated before my grandfather told me what torture is and some of his frieds had scars to prove it and all of them have nightmares. My grandfather still hasn’t told me everything. There are still things he will not talk about and I don’t ask any furthur. I still refuse to cry foul has I havn’t see any detainees missing arms, fingers, toes, or any detainess missing eyes or limpig out permatley disabled. If you say I’m redefining torture I’m not, I’m just putting it into perspective. The problem is once again the word I hate most perception. People think that we should not use any advanced techniques and that the terrorist will be so impressed that he can’t wait to tell us his countries secrets and plots(a little sarcasm here srry)
    The reality is it is the only way to get some information that is vital to natioinal security. In the future if pakistan looses a few nukes that disappear off of the radar I hope our government ups the ante till they find them. What people don’t understand is after 9/11 we learned that we are severly vulnerable to a nuclear or bio strike. Our government learned that a dirty bomb, or suitcase nuke can be easily brought across the border and detonated in the right areas could wipe out 10,000 or more us citizen in a spot then counless thousands more through radiation poisoning from dust and debrees carried throughout the state of detonation to alll neighboring states. The american people need to understand that this is very real and very very scary. There is very little to stop this from happening other than our intelligance, and once againbefore you tear me up border patroll can’t stop the same illegals entering our country at a border let alone terrorists I’m amazed we haven’t been attacked again already.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      “The reality is it is the only way to get some information that is vital to national security.” (referring to torture)

      That is fundamentally not true. The US spent years undermining its foreign service to where we had no ‘boots on the ground’ to develop in the field intel. We have better technology now and only starting to reinvest in human assets as well. To state torture is the only way is very circumspect.

  19. Stress positions “These positions are not designed to produce the pain associated with contortions or twisting of the body. … They are designed to produce the physical discomfort associated with muscle fatigue. Any pain associated with muscle fatigue is not of the intensity sufficient to amount to ‘severe physical pain or suffering’ under the statute, nor, despite its discomfort, can it be said to be difficult to endure.”

    The person that wrote this never had to duck walk from home plate to first base and back, twice.

    JAC

  20. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Good Day All!

    Fox News has an article that reports are coming out where the # of times the Waterboarding was done was inflated; apparently the # of times was interpreted as actual # of times the person was taken to to be waterboarded (i.e. 183 times) when it was actually the # of times water itself was poured (i.e. 10 sessions w/total of 183 dribbles of water). FoxNews.com article states that even the prisoners have testitified to this.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/28/despite-reports-khalid-sheikh-mohammed-waterboarded-times/

    Have a great day!
    RS

    • Black Flag says:

      1, 10, 100 – simply multipliers of evil on evil.

      I guess if I kill 100 people, I’m 100x worse than killing merely 1, right?

      • Situational correct? Else in a war scenario disengaging lets you not kill. They jail you so what. You still avoided killing another and leave the organization after being released as the biggest mistake of your life. That the opponent is engaged in killing others of any kind doesn’t give you leave to “stoop to their level”. Correct?

        You can’t use numbers without context unless your position is as a pacifist in which your own beliefs afford no scenario where it would EVER be a choice.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Does not make it any more tolerable

  21. Richmond Spitfire says:

    Sorry…may have gotten some ACTUAL #’s mixed up, but if you read the article, you’ll see what I mean!

  22. There is good reason why lawyers are consulted when dealing with questions about compliance with laws, including treaties. Lawyers write the things and they are supposed to be able to interpret them. But as I learned long ago, the lawyer’s answer is often based on the question asked. Lawyers generally try to find an answer the client desires if possible. That is the way law works, and that is why lawyers should not be prosecuted for rendering legal opinions regarding these techniques. If their interpretations were flawed then perhaps they should be Disbarred, but not prosectuted for criminal actions.

    As U.S. so ablely pointed out, torture is defined by law as: “Article 1.1: Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,…” I would like to point out that the operative word “severe” is not only the problem, as US pointed out, but is used to provide intentional ambiguity. Because the great legal and political minds that composed and approved this knew full well that it would come down to “it depends on when is severe severe?” What comprises severe physical pain? What comprises severe mental pain?

    If the legal issue were as black and white as Ray and BF are claiming then the treaty would not have included the word “severe”. Remove that one word and the interrogation methods described above become torture. Add it back in and some may or may not depending on the specific methods and impacts of each. I want to also point out that the lawyers opinions are predicated on information they are getting about how the techniques are employed, from those asking for clarification. Thus, the method may not be torture if applied exactly as described in the opinion but could become torture if implemented differently.

    And now for my shot at the legal opinions. The treaty does not use “permanent damage” as a criteria for determining “severe pain”. So my question is where did the attorneys come up with that comparison. Is it based on legal precedence or was it invented for this situation. If it is the latter then I go back to the jerking their license to practice law.

    JAC

    • USWeapon says:

      JAC,

      The definition of severe is certainly the issue. In the training that I completed they never completely defined it. There is always a little ambiguity left there for interpretation. One of the factors always considered was permanent damamge and the focus was strictly on the physical side. Simply being captured can constitute mental damage. As Ray mentioned earlier he has some mental issues with sailing, despite the fact that absolutely zero physical pain was inflicted on him.

      When there is discussion of mental damage they are usually referring to something that couldn’t be fixed by a shrink, for example electrocution causing memory loss. There was rarely a consideration given to mental anguish.

      From wha tI can tell on the issue of where that permanent damage came from in the legal definitions, the legal folks presenting their case were the ones that added it in, not the legal folks who approved it. From what I can gather it seems that there was significant research done into previous legal precedents around torture and interrogation. There seems, in most rulings on interrogation versus torture, to be a heavy reliance by judges ruling on the case to use permanent damage as a major factor in determining the ruling.

      So the guys who added it in here, did so because it was such a factor in many of the previous rulings, so they figured they had to show that no permanent damage would be done.

  23. Black Flag says:

    In 1945, the US hanged Japanese officers for inflicting “water-boarding” (near-drowning) on US prisoners, which were deemed war crimes.

    Yet this is exactly what the CIA inflicted on its Muslim captives. FBI agents rightly refused to participate in the torture of al-Qaeda suspects, warning that it violated US law and could make them subject to future prosecution.

    In 2004, CIA’s inspector general reported there was no proof that use of torture had thwarted “specific imminent attacks.” This comes from a recently declassified Justice Department memo.

    The director of the FBI, Robert Muller, one of Washington’s most upright, respected officials, also declared that torture had not prevented any attacks against the United States. Both findings directly contradict claims by Dick Cheney that torture prevented major attacks.

    • BF

      I assume that you are discussing the Double Tenth Trial of Lt. Col. Sumida Haruzo and others. Those sentenced to death in that trial were not executed for water boarding prisoners. They were hung for killing prisoners. The Japanese did not water board they used what they call “water treatment”. They used 2 kinds of treatment:

      1. Turning a person upside down and dipping their head in water
      2. Holding a person on his back and forcing water into his stomach until he was bloated with water then hitting him with a board or rod in the stomach.

      Unless I read USW’s post wrong, I don’t think we did that to anyone. Also it was not done to US POWs in this case, it was done to British Subjects.

      • USWeapon says:

        Excellent clarification. I have not researched this but I am sure BF will have a rebuttal.

      • Black Flag says:

        Forgive the cut and paste…

        washington post

        Waterboarding Used to Be a Crime

        By Evan Wallach

        As a JAG in the Nevada National Guard, ….

        … One such set of questions relates to “waterboarding.”

        That term is used to describe several interrogation techniques. The victim may be immersed in water, have water forced into the nose and mouth, or have water poured onto material placed over the face so that the liquid is inhaled or swallowed.

        The media usually characterize the practice as “simulated drowning.”

        That’s incorrect.

        To be effective, waterboarding is usually real drowning that simulates death. That is, the victim experiences the sensations of drowning: struggle, panic, breath-holding, swallowing, vomiting, taking water into the lungs and, eventually, the same feeling of not being able to breathe that one experiences after being punched in the gut. The main difference is that the drowning process is halted. According to those who have studied waterboarding’s effects, it can cause severe psychological trauma, such as panic attacks, for years.
        ….

        After World War II, we convicted several Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American and Allied prisoners of war. At the trial of his captors, then-Lt. Chase J. Nielsen, one of the 1942 Army Air Forces officers who flew in the Doolittle Raid and was captured by the Japanese, testified: “I was given several types of torture. . . . I was given what they call the water cure.” He was asked what he felt when the Japanese soldiers poured the water. “Well, I felt more or less like I was drowning,” he replied, “just gasping between life and death.”

        Nielsen’s experience was not unique. Nor was the prosecution of his captors. After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan’s military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.

        In this case from the tribunal’s records, the victim was a prisoner in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies:

        A towel was fixed under the chin and down over the face. Then many buckets of water were poured into the towel so that the water gradually reached the mouth and rising further eventually also the nostrils, which resulted in his becoming unconscious and collapsing like a person drowned. This procedure was sometimes repeated 5-6 times in succession.

        The United States (like Britain, Australia and other Allies) pursued lower-ranking Japanese war criminals in trials before their own tribunals. As a general rule, the testimony was similar to Nielsen’s. Consider this account from a Filipino waterboarding victim:

        Q: Was it painful?

        A: Not so painful, but one becomes unconscious. Like drowning in the water.

        Q: Like you were drowning?

        A: Drowning — you could hardly breathe.

        Here’s the testimony of two Americans imprisoned by the Japanese:

        They would lash me to a stretcher then prop me up against a table with my head down. They would then pour about two gallons of water from a pitcher into my nose and mouth until I lost consciousness.

        And from the second prisoner: They laid me out on a stretcher and strapped me on. The stretcher was then stood on end with my head almost touching the floor and my feet in the air. . . . They then began pouring water over my face and at times it was almost impossible for me to breathe without sucking in water.

        As a result of such accounts, a number of Japanese prison-camp officers and guards were convicted of torture that clearly violated the laws of war. They were not the only defendants convicted in such cases.

        As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the “water cure” to question Filipino guerrillas.

        Evan Wallach, a judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, teaches the law of war as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School.

        • Bama Dad says:

          The following is a transcript of the 1947 court proceedings in the trial of a World War II Japanese war criminal: Chinsaku Yuki. He was accused of the torture and murder of Philippine civilians, and ultimately convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

          Col. Keeley: And then did he take you back to your room?
          Navarro: When Yuki could not get anything out of me, he wanted the interpreter to place me down below. And I was told by Yuki to take off all my clothes, so what I did was to take off my clothes as ordered. I was ordered to lay on a bench and Yuki tied my feet, hands and neck to that bench, lying with my face upward. After I was tied to the bench, Yuki placed some cloth on my face. And then with water from the faucet, they poured on me until I became unconscious. He repeated that four or five times.
          You mean he brought water and poured water down your throat?
          No sir, on my face, until I became unconscious. We were lying that way, with some cloth on my face, and then Yuki poured water on my face continuously.
          And you couldn’t breathe?
          No, I could not, and so I, for a time, lost consciousness. I found my consciousness came back again and found Yuki was sitting on my stomach. And then I vomited the water from my stomach, and the consciousness came back again for me.
          Where did the water come out when he sat on your stomach?
          From my mouth and all openings of my face … and then Yuki would repeat the same treatment and the same procedure to me until I became unconscious again.
          How many times did that happen?
          Around four or five times, from two o’clock up to four o’clock in the afternoon.

          This is torture which went a lot further than what was done by the US.

    • Also the British done the hanging.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        There is also ABSOLUTELY NO comparison to the torture by the Japanese on their prisoners and the So-called torture on these 3 terrorist maggots.

  24. I’m still trying to figure out what the purpose was in those documents being released to start with. The only thing that comes to mind is the same “We won” attitude that we have seen from the Dems since November. It served no purpose but to show other countries just how divided this one is. I am sick to death about hearing how bad Bush was/is. If it wasn’t for him being so aggressive I believe that we would have had more than just the attacks on 9/11 on our soil. As to America taking the high road, that was, I think, part of the reason that 9/11 took place. Because the people who perpetrated it did not believe the we had the testicular fortitude to stand up to it. I tend to think as BF does on this one issue, I don’t think that Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out he had a part in it, but he wasn’t the mastermind.

    As to torture, I don’t think that the things listed in USW’s post are torture, they sound like some of the things that my brothers and I did to each other when we played cops and robbers. It’s a difficult concept for me to grasp that our government wants to prosecute the people who are trying to protect us from these terrorist because they don’t like the way that the terrorists are being treated. Well boo frickin hoo cause I guarantee you that the terrorists were not and are not concerned about how their martyrs are being treated. They are jihadist’s they are not soldiers. They are making a holy war and they are playing by their own set of rules.

    • My reactions exactly, Krisian. Thanks for saving me the keystrokes!

    • Kristian

      While there is definetly some politics at play we should not forget that for some this is purely a legal matter. We must enforce our own laws. Any treaty we sign is one of our laws.

      Therefore, enforcing our laws does not necessarily constitute “prosecute the people who are trying to protect us..” it is prosecute those who broke the law.

      If we accept that, then we can more reasonably look at the examples and try to determine rationally whether the law was broken.

      BF’s example of the FBI refussing to participate is interesting but not evidence as each agency operates under its own set of laws that fall under broader laws applying to everyone. We would have to know which specific laws they thought they would be violating.

      Of course this all goes only to the cases that have already happened, and the debate over what if anything should we do about it.

      The next question for VDLG party members is what is the correct answer going forward. Hint: remember core principles!

      P.S.: While I understand your comment about terrorist behavior I submit it has nothing to do with us determining what is proper behavior on our part. If we do then the “revenge” factor BF alludes to above begins to seep into the equation.

      Be Happy
      JAC

      • Kristian says:

        Ok, I understand what you are saying and it does make sense. I also think that we have long past the point where it really makes a difference. Bush is no longer in office, he can never run for president again. The Dems are in office and look to be there for a while. I don’t believe the reason those documents were released has anything to do with legalities but has everything to do with “We won!”. This is just one more way for Obama to thumb his nose at America saying “Now, we’re gonna do it MY way!”. All of it is political posturing and nothing else. The majority of Americans probably could care less what kind of methods were used, all they know is that they have been safe for the last 7 years.

        You mentioned core principals. Do I believe that torture is ok? That is something that I would really need to sit down and think about. I could tell you that in this moment, right now, I have absolutely no problem with it. Would that change if I were ever tortured? Yes. because then it would be happening to me. Don’t jump on me BF, I know what I just said. I’m just being honest here. When it is a nameless, faceless third party that wishes me harm I can’t say that it is wrong. I do think that there has to be a better way though. I believe that was mentioned in one of the earlier posts. Someone by the name of Hanns? Wouldn’t it be a rainbow pretty world if we had more like him? But the thing is we don’t, the world does not work that way. From the beginning of time or the beginning of creation, whichever you believe, it has been survival of the fittest. Man has just learned how to be more cruel to one another.

        • Kristian:

          “Do I believe that torture is ok? That is something that I would really need to sit down and think about.”

          I suggest this is the wrong question in response to my comment about core prinicples. Remember back when I and some others made the case that the core principle supporting individual freedom and liberty is that no one may initiate coersive force on another. You may act to defend or retaliate to prevent furhter agression against you but neither you nor your govt may initiate against another.

          If you accept this core, then your evaluation of torture is made with this as your sideboard.

          Happy Thinking
          JAC

          • JAC,

            Then isn’t that exsctly what Bush and Cheney did? Act to prevent further aggression on our soil?

  25. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    This has been an interesting debate so far, but there are a few people here that I would like to specifically pick on for answers to the following questions. I specifically want to pick on Ray and BF here, so hopefully they will provide answers to these questions honestly. I am not asking the questions in order to try to pick their answers apart, nor is it my intention to be critical of their answers in any way. I just want to see how they answer the following questions so that I can see where they are coming from on this issue. If other people here want to answer these questions as well, that is fine. It could be informative as to why we all have at least some difference of opinion on this particular issue.

    Question #1: For interrogations of any type, is there any technique beyond simple asking of questions that you see as a valid form of attempting to obtain information?

    Question #2: If there are other valid interrogation techniques beyond the simple asking of questions that you find acceptable, where do you draw the line between acceptable interrogation techniques and unacceptable techniques?

    Question #3: Do you simply believe any form of interrogation to be a complete waste of time because you feel that no valuable information can be obtained through interrogation?

    I don’t necessarily agree with Ray or BF on the subject, but I will admit that both at least appear to be consistent so far.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Now the tough questions! Nice one Peter!

      On #3 – there is value in interrogation

      On #1 and #2 – I am no but have done some ‘interviewing’ as part of computer crime investigation. I will say that I do not think it is an exact science nor do I have all the answers. I would lean on:

      a. Using trust building;
      b. Use limited deception;
      c. No agressive physical contact;
      d. Limited threatening (‘you could go to jail’ v. “I’m going to behead your family’)

      In most events the questioning is not done in isolation but in concert with corrobrating evidence – else you may be just fishing.

      Would be nice if we had an LE poster on here to weigh in on what is effective. Anyone?

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Thank you Ray,

        That gives me a much better perspective on your view, and it also seems to be consistent with your previous posts on the subject.

        I may not agree with you on the line where interrogation becomes torture, but you made it clear here where that line is for you personally, and I appreciate that.

        If nothing else, it helps me to look at my own views on the subject and try to evaluate why we differ on where that line is.

    • Black Flag says:

      Question #1: For interrogations of any type, is there any technique beyond simple asking of questions that you see as a valid form of attempting to obtain information?

      See the info I posted above regarding the Germans.

      The greatest success came from actually being compassionate and humane to the prisoners.

      I know it seems to surprise many, but being kind and honorable does make others like you.

      Question #2: If there are other valid interrogation techniques beyond the simple asking of questions that you find acceptable, where do you draw the line between acceptable interrogation techniques and unacceptable techniques?

      Coerced information has little or no value. All of it requires repeated confirmation regardless of technique.

      It has been shown, over and over again, that coerced testimony is massively faulty. In many cases, wrong information is far worse than no information.

      If, from false testimony, the US arrests and then tortures an innocent man. See Canada’s Arar.

      The damage such an circumstance has done to the US internationally will not be understood for generations.

      Question #3: Do you simply believe any form of interrogation to be a complete waste of time because you feel that no valuable information can be obtained through interrogation?

      Obviously the success of the Germans proves that interrogation technique is key.

      • Black Flag says:

        And I want to expand on the wrong information thinking….

        …if we torture, and from that information we arrest and torture an innocent man…we have committed the grossest of evils.

        …if we do not torture, and from that information we arrest an innocent man and we still do not torture, we have merely made a correctable mistake.

      • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

        Thank you BF,

        You and Ray both have me thinking on this subject, and that is always good.

        I am not sure I agree with everything you said, mostly because I do feel that some cultures would see kind and honorable interrogation techniques as a sign of weakness, but I certainly appreciate your answers to my questions.

        • Black Flag says:

          It may be true that some cultures view honor as weakness – but they tend to be savage in nature to begin with.

          However, how does a civilized man treat a savage? Do we stoop to his level or do we act civilized?

          When a man who is drowning sees a child on a raft – do we see the man as ‘good’ if he dumps the child and takes the raft to save himself?

          Or do we see the man on a raft seeing a drowning child who saves the child at the cost of his life as ‘good’?

          Which of the two is the savage?

  26. Some of you maybe interested in this news
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/28/despite-reports-khalid-sheikh-mohammed-waterboarded-times/
    Interesting as to how information comes to us eskew.

  27. Good read today. In our current civil society, we may or may not consider these interagation methods as “torture”. I guess it depends on your personnal views and history. “Revenge torture” as Flag put it, is and always will be a fact of war, it’s human nature, when in survival mode to act much differentally than you normally would. I try to live life as morally correct as I have been raised to be, but in a wartime situation, I know that I was much less likely to fight/act morally, as I was taught throughout my childhood.

    I’ll ask those that have been to war a question. Did it change you as a person, and did it make you realize that you cannot be morally correct under those conditions?

    G!

    • Black Flag says:

      Yes, and it made me resolved that there is no justification to evil – ever. Collateral damage or not, killing innocent people is evil.

      When one sees a mother screaming while trying to stuff the brains of her baby back into his bullet-blasted head – one’s morality of action is tested and permanently resolved.

      • War is ugly….that is why people hate it. War should be the very last resort….there has never been a pretty war…never been a war without collateral damage. I wish there had never been a war. War is war to try and play it like a chess game is being a fool. To assume there will not be death is war is a fools game. Until the time of the reign of the coming Messiah there will be no peace. There will be more war and it doesn’t get any prettier as time goes on. When death stares you in the face you fight to win….it does not matter how you fight only that you win….that is human nature…survival of the human will. Until ALL humans look on war the same way, until they see death from the same perspective there will never be peace. Life has to become more precious to ALL to prevent war. At that time it will be no war at any cost.

        • Black Flag says:

          It may be more dangerous to be honorable – and it may mean that there is more risk to act so not to harm innocent people.

          Gen. Lee purposely avoided civilian populations on his march to Washington – and paid for all his supplies.

          Gen. Grant burned his way to Atlanta, and confiscated his supplies.

          And, yes, Grant won.

          And we live today in the government of what that victory cursed upon us.

          In the long run, the nation will perish by its acts of evil.

  28. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    I just read an interesting article on this subject. I quote,

    “If Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah had been sent to their just reward by a Predator drone, killing anyone — friends, family and civilians — around them, would that have been more civilized than pouring water down their noses?

    The current administration is carrying on President Bush’s policy of raining death from the skies on such terrorists. We can blow them up, but we can’t waterboard them. Will a future tribunal accuse this administration of war crimes?”

    Any thoughts?

    • I don’t think anything will come of this. First, the witnesses aren’t known for being truthful to begin with. And anyone that engaged in a form of torture, would not freely talk about it. The only changes that may come are that some of these methods may become illegal in the future.

    • Black Flag says:

      Yes, if anyone had the guts to do it.

      But honor long left the shores of America – we are the enemy we thought we fought a long time ago.

      • Flag, not so sure honor has left our shores at all. I believe that their is much honor in the people that post here, despite their different views. Honor is alive and well, it’s just been silent for awhile!

  29. Ray Hawkins says:

    All ~ I’ll offer one other perspective – I asked my Dad how he felt about this exact situation when he was over visiting this past weekend. For context – he is ex-military (Vietnam), worked DoD whole life, was compartmentalized security, TDY to places I’ll never see in my lifetime, raised strict conservative southern Baptist but has become more to moderate in his older years.

    His response was simply: “there are certain things our government must do that should never be made public”. Now, my inclination is to try and figure out is this black and white, does it need context, blah blah blah. I don’t think we’ll ever become perfect, but maybe there is a kernel of truth in what he is/was saying. Something bad happened, we recognized it, we fixed it – turning it into a public spectacle actually weakens us rather than makes us longer term stronger. Corrective measures need not always play out in the public forum – or do they?

    • Ray, From my perspective and experience, I left a part of me over in some shithole far from home. I engaged in actions that I was taught was morally wrong. I have never discussed those events with any person, even those that were with me. It is life changing, and that should never become a part of public forum, EVER!

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        I can appreciate that G-Man. We had close family friends who served in SE Asia with obvious scars they could never talk about. My Dad never saw combat – ironically because they knew if he were caught and they knew his job (he was a crypto guy) he’d be tortured.

        • Scott Stitely says:

          I know a guy that was in the combat zone in Vietnam and he told me that he was a the lead driver in a truck convoy,the enemy would push cilvilians out in front of the convoys to stop them and then attack them if they stopped…what would you do..stop and be killed or keep driving and kill the cilvilians????I know if I were in the same situation, I would keep driving…Me for them or them for me . Easy answer for me!!!

    • Black Flag says:

      The appearance of justice is more important then the act of justice.

      Our enemies are looking at our motives. If we show ourselves as savages, they will decide their response.

      If they see us honorable, they will decide a different response.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Valid and agreed

      • I one goes off to defend their own, they are morally correct. If in accomplishing that defense requires using immoral actions, Then would the immoral actions be justified to achieve what is ultimately morally correct?

        • Black Flag says:

          Never.

          We recognize in our culture that men in white do not shoot the men in black in the back, even though the men in black may do just that – and even if it means that the man in white is at a serious disadvantage.

          Evil men have far more options then good men. Good men must always act morally – evil men can use every technique the good man can PLUS his own evil methods.

          Yet good prevails. Why?

          Good requires greater strength – and strength comes from character and character comes from morals.

          It is the moral will that overcomes great odds – it is in evil that the lack of will and strength falters, because there is no moral bedrock from which to steel resolve.

          IN ALL MATTERS – one must ALWAYS chose the RIGHT and MORAL choice – whatever the cost – least we lose everything.

          • I think the history of our enemies, and their savagry, only made our men just as savage if not more so. Like dealing with the schoolyard bully. At some point, the bully has to go down, and when his eyes roll up in his bloody head, the problem is solved. (learned from dealing with a bully, and it worked quite well)

            • Black Flag says:

              If you struck your bully from behind, in the dark, with a rock – when he picked on you to your face, in the light, with his fist – how do you believe your friends will see you?

              A hero or a cad?

              • (from wikipedia) Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, participant in the German Resistance movement against Nazism, a founding member of the Confessing Church. His involvement in plans by members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office) to assassinate Adolf Hitler resulted in his execution. Bonhoeffer was arrested in April 1943, imprisoned, and eventually executed by hanging shortly before the war’s end.

                Was Bonhoeffer evil?

          • Bama dad says:

            I agree with everything you say here. That is how we all should be. My only disagreement is did we torture? You say yes I say no.

            • If torture saves lives then we tortured, wouldn’t want to be them.

              I don’t believe the methods USW posted constitutes torture.

              That’s my story and I’m stickin too it.

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        Totally disagree!!!

        Are you telling us that the Islamic extremists are going to going to start treating us honorably?! These interrogation techniques were established in 2002 (if you believe the reports). Why did they bomb the USS Cole in 2000? Why did they bomb the US embassies in Africa in 1998?

        These interrogations are a result of Islamic extremism, not the other way around.

        • Black Flag says:

          Why?

          Because we have soldiers in their countries, we embargoed a defeated nation to the deaths of 100,000 children and we have a grossly asymmetrical political policy regarding Palestine and Israel.

          It doesn’t make them right, but that doesn’t make us right either.

          • Bee in my Bonnet says:

            So can we agree it has nothing to do with the interrogations?

            Extremists will always find a reason to hate.
            We are called infidels because we don not espouse to the teachings of Islam.
            Should we all become Muslim to keep them from performing terrorist acts on the US because that will be the ONLY way to make the extremists happy.

          • Black Flag says:

            First, they couldn’t care less about what we believe, as long as we aren’t sticking our nose in their business.

            Secondly, no, interrogation – on its own – will not change much from their point of view. Indeed, they may actually believe it is the norm.

            However, it matters to us.

            We cannot excuse our behavior based on the behavior of others.

            If we cannot act in honor – we have damaged ourselves far more than any enemy action. We prove them right, that we have no honor and are evil – and as such, gives them the excuse to damage us as much as possible.

            By being honorable might not dissuade our enemies from attack – but our allies, who share our honored beliefs – will not let such attacks go unanswered either. They will (as they have) let us go by ourselves when they see us as two-faced, duplicitous, and dishonorable.

            • Black Flag says:

              When our cause was just, the entire world stood beside us – when we stand alone, one must re-examine our cause.

            • USWeapon says:

              BF,

              Your “First” is absolutely not true. Even a little history of Al Qaeda will show you that they very much care what we believe. The movement first began with disgust in their old school religious circles with the childred they sent to western countries for an education who returned with Western ideals and beliefs. They saw the west as possibly the greatest threat to their religious control over people, as well as western values as immoral and against God. They most assuredly do have quite a problem with what we believe. True they don’t like us sticking our nose in their business, and we shouldn’t. But your premise that things would be hunky dory if we would just leave them alone is false, and therefore, rejected.

              • Black Flag says:

                “it’s not hunky dory… therefore, must be rejected”.

                But, therefore, you reject your own policy, because its not ‘hunky dory’ right now, either.

                Though it is incredibly unlikely that we both might be wrong – I’d doubt it.

                Therefore, the measure of the policy is not whether the situation is ‘hunky dory’ or not.

                The measure of the policy is based on honor and moral action – regardless of the situation – good or bad.

              • USWeapon says:

                Reply Below… #37

            • PeterB in Indianapolis says:

              “First, they couldn’t care less about what we believe, as long as we aren’t sticking our nose in their business.”

              False statement.

              “When our cause was just, the entire world stood beside us”

              False statement.

    • Ray – this was by far your best post. I couldn’t agree more that turning this whole issue into a public spectacle has weakened us in our enemy’s eyes. This administration should have never let this happen. And as I’m reading through our discussion here, I keep asking myself why he did…

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        Texas – I hate that this is in the press as I am certain that things of this nature have occurred before and were handled w/o making us look like international jackasses

    • Ray:

      I believe the solution or change should be public. That would improve our govt. The reasons for the need for change should not necessarily be public. This is where poly ticking comes to play for no reason except “gotch ya”.

      From the point of Abu Graib we Americans knew there was a problem. Everyone should have come to the table and said lets get this fixed ASAP. It was more important for one side to attack the other, which of course puts them on the defensive. So no action is taken and the problem continues to build.

      If we had a unitary core prinicple based on not intiating violence on others them most (at least some) of what we consider stuff we shouldn’t know about would go away.

      JAC

  30. esomhillgazette says:

    WOW US? How did you do it? You managed to get Ray AND Black Flag on THE SAME SIDE in a discussion. This is great!! I never thought I’d see the day! 😀

    Great Job!

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Me either 😉

    • Black Flag says:

      I did.

      Almost everyone in their essence knows right from wrong.

      Often, we are dealt mixed messages from those we are told to trust.

      Generally, we have no time or need to test this trust, until some issue demands it.

      Ray sees these acts of violence upon confined imprisoned men as evil, as they are.

  31. Bee in my Bonnet says:

    BF,
    “I can tell you over your play for a year playing badly will cause you to lose and playing good will cause you to win.”

    Using this logic, I can say enhanced interrogation = 8 years of no terrorist attacks. Isn’t that an argument FOR enhanced interrogation?

    • Black Flag says:

      And 60 years of no torture was successful in stopping all but one attack.

      • Bee in my Bonnet says:

        2 attacks. Don’t forget Pearl Harbour.

        And that was a good point.

      • This may be an assumption. We do not know how the CIA or other agencies have done in those 60 years.

        • Black Flag says:

          They did what we should have done after 9-11….

          … counter-terrorism and good ol’ police work…..

          Taking out the bad guys one at a time worked very well.

          Taking out entire countries to find a handful of bad guys has never worked.

  32. LumberMan says:

    The one major difference with your justification by way of S.E.R.E:
    You knew in your heart that your C.O. (Commanding Officer)
    who was pouring the water would not let you die.
    There is a huge scenario difference between your C.O. pouring the water
    and your sworn enemy pouring the water.
    And remember, any of these things by themselves might not constitute torture,
    but compounding all of these techniques repeatedly together does.

    • USWeapon says:

      It wasn’t a CO, it was a SFC dressed as a hostile and speaking with a heavy accent, and to be truthful, when they interrogate you, you 100% forget that it is not real. Because EVERYTHING is done to make it real. You ARE a POW for a week and a half or so. Don’t assume too much about SERE school. It is nasty and difficult.

      • LumberMan says:

        None the less, you were on American soil being interrogated by an American soldier. No matter what they do or how much they try they cannot simulate exactly the same scenario as being on forein soil with a sworn enemy pouring the water.

  33. Black Flag says:

    It was enough to kill 3,000 Americans on American soil.Thats enough for me.

    I promised USWep not to debate this subject as it will hijack what is a valid topic.

    I, my friend, am not taught from birth that dying for my religion is a good thing. They are.

    Many Christians believe when they die they go to heaven – and heaven is a better place then here.

    There are many Christians who would die for their religion. This is not merely an attribute of Islam, but of most faith-based ideologies – whether theologically based or politically based.

    Many would die for the faith of democracy – it is not different to die for your ‘country’ as it is to die for your ‘God’ – they are one and the same for many Americans.

    Replace ‘Islam’ with ‘America’ and re-check your complaint.

    They are mostly ignorant and poor, and kept that way purposely by the fanatical mullahs who “Teach” them that it is good and just to die in the will of Allah. Inshallah.

    In all cultures, it is the established structure to dumb-down the population as a means of control. I do not see them as an exception to the rule – I see them doing essentially the same thing we do to our own children, but just in a different language.

    The infidel must submit to the will of Allah or die. That BF, is just plain scary. and A-holes like those 3 waterboarded boneheads are the ones who led the other poor ignorant idiots to fly planes into the Towers and the Pentagon and the ground.

    And you must submit to your nation and defend the ‘nation’ from enemies unknown – illusionary or not.

    And we martyr our ‘heroes’ with pieces of metal around their necks and big plaques on walls inside airports – maybe a street or two named after them as well.

    Whereas we have 1,000kg bombs to drop on their people – they have not much more than their flesh – but that is all they have, so they use it instead of computer-guided missiles, they guide their missiles personally.

    One must ponder…. who is more brave?

    One who kills from behind a computer, or one who has to walk to his certain death to kill his enemy.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Come on BF, you know what I mean. Most Islamics cannot read. They are very poor and are kept that way purposely. so the lie of Muhammed can be spread. Not that HE lied. But the supposed learned Mullahs are lying to the ignorant in his name. The quoran as far as I know does not teach Jihad, or inflicting violent deaths on people just because they don’t submit to the will of Allah. If it does indeed preach violence. Then we might as well give up and bomb their butts into the Stone Age.

      My Religion does not advocate inflicting violence or death on anyone because they don’t believe the same way I do. They are told that the more of us they kill the better. And their own death is unimportant. They will ensure their place in Heaven. How do you fight that indoctrination? That brainwashing?

      In a perfect, nice world, all of that would have been unnecessary. Be we don’t live in a perfect, nice, or even sane world. We live in dangerous times. Sometimes that calls for extreme measures. Or I guess you could call that extreme anyway. To me that doesn’t even constitute torture. That was a slap on the wrist.

      • Black Flag says:

        Most ‘Americans’ cannot read. They are very poor and are kept that way purposely. so the lie of Democracy can be spread. Not that its a lie. But the supposed learned politicians are lying to the ignorant in its cause. The Constitution, as far as I know, does not teach war or inflicting violent deaths on people just because they don’t submit to the will of the majority.

        If it does indeed preach violence, then we might as well give up and bomb our butts into the Stone Age.

  34. This has been an interesting discussion. Everyone has made very good points and I find it hard to agrue the merits. I guess I’ll have go on what I feel inside. If what I feel makes me evil in some way, then so be it.

    Who is more brave? I apply bravery to someone who gives their life to save the lives of others. Blowing one self up to kill others, is just stupid.

    • Black Flag says:

      They see that they are giving their lives to save their families.

      It is either that or submit to ‘evil’ foreigners.

      I’m sure – as a brave man yourself – you’d take a bomb under your arm and run into the Soviet Command of the Occupational Forces in America’s (SCOFoA) HQ in an attempt to disrupt his C&C – or die getting as close as possible – if that was all you could do (hypothetically, of course)

      • I’m not sure how they see things. We were not aggressive in their countries pre 9/11.

        I would like to think I could disrupt C & C with a better method, and live to do it again. One can’t be brave and stupid, they are seperate mentalities.

        Thanks for the kind comment!

      • BF:

        “They see that they are giving their lives to save their families.”

        Not exactly accurate…one could view it as a selfish act, as taught in Islamic theology the male martyr goes straight to paradise, to be waited upon hand and foot by 72 virgins.

        Just saying…

  35. BF and Ray,

    In essence I agree that torture is wrong, inefficient, and for the most part ineffective. However, I have to bring it to a personal level to really answer this question for myself:

    Would I ever torture someone else? No

    But wait a moment, what if a gang had attacked my family before and had viciously murdered one of my sons? Then, I started killing members of that gang in retribution. Through this, I learned that the gang was planning another attack to kill my other son. My five year old son’s life was in serious danger from a group of people that had shown they had the skills, the knowledge, and the fortitude to attack and kill my children.

    I happen to capture one of these gang members. He is a leading member of the gang and so I am pretty sure that he knows of the plan to kill my son. Would I torture him to get the information? He is a leading member of the gang who killed my other son and I am in a personal war with this gang.

    I was going to write here that I would torture him. I would skin him, break him, cut him, and drown him to find out the information. But I just couldn’t write it. So, in reality, I would not torture him. I would probably just kill him and then focus my efforts on defending my family.

    I just don’t think I have the ability to torture someone. Therefore, I don’t think that torture is morally right.

    • When in your hypethetical situation, survival and protectionism would overcome what you believe to be moral. As a father myself, in your hypethetical situation, I would A: have a hostage of the enemy, B: I would get the information I needed to protect my family, by any means necessary.

      Basically, when your forced into an immoral situation, as a human, you would respond accordingly.

      (PS: I’d be cutting fingers off to get that info!!!)

      • But what if you screwed up? What if that hostage was not what you thought he was? I am a big believer in personal defense and defense of one’s family, but I couldn’t torture someone for fear that I may be torturing an innocent person.

        Now, on the other hand, if I saw the actual person who had hurt my family with my own eyes. I would then torture him as an act of revenge and justice – not nice I know – but in that case I would at least be sure of his guilt.

        My problem is in the fact that torture involves punishment for a crime that has yet to be committed.

        • I based my actions on your hypothetical situation, that the gang leader was known to lead the bad guys, who wanted to do harm to my family.

      • Black Flag says:

        And in the end, you’ll have a mess to clean up with nothing much of anything else.

        He is as likely to send you into a trap then to reveal any real info that would help you. That’s what I would do….

        If he was a gang member, I’d bribe him. That has better odds, and lowers the chance of a trap, especially if we work out a way he gets to live and get paid AFTER I win.

        • Flag, I don’t ever make deals under these (hypothetical) situations.
          While we speak as individuals, I’m not without strong support, and under these circumstances would have a small well armed army.

          As far as the mess to clean up, it’s only blood. and a dead body.

  36. Reply to Black Flag about the bully thing. Sir, I can assure you that I was raised to be honorable. Face to face, in daytime, and I let him miss first. Then I beat him to a bloody pulp, until he could no longer defend himself. I stopped knowing this and walked away. I was only 12.

    I will agree that attacking from behind is the act of a coward, and using a weapon without just cause is also cowardly.

    PEACE!
    G!

  37. USWeapon says:

    Black Flag said
    April 28, 2009 at 1:28 pm e

    First, they couldn’t care less about what we believe, as long as we aren’t sticking our nose in their business.

    Secondly, no, interrogation – on its own – will not change much from their point of view. Indeed, they may actually believe it is the norm.

    However, it matters to us.

    We cannot excuse our behavior based on the behavior of others.

    If we cannot act in honor – we have damaged ourselves far more than any enemy action. We prove them right, that we have no honor and are evil – and as such, gives them the excuse to damage us as much as possible.

    By being honorable might not dissuade our enemies from attack – but our allies, who share our honored beliefs – will not let such attacks go unanswered either. They will (as they have) let us go by ourselves when they see us as two-faced, duplicitous, and dishonorable.

    USWeapon said
    April 28, 2009 at 1:45 pm e

    BF,

    Your “First” is absolutely not true. Even a little history of Al Qaeda will show you that they very much care what we believe. The movement first began with disgust in their old school religious circles with the childred they sent to western countries for an education who returned with Western ideals and beliefs. They saw the west as possibly the greatest threat to their religious control over people, as well as western values as immoral and against God. They most assuredly do have quite a problem with what we believe. True they don’t like us sticking our nose in their business, and we shouldn’t. But your premise that things would be hunky dory if we would just leave them alone is false, and therefore, rejected.

    Black Flag said
    April 28, 2009 at 2:33 pm e

    “it’s not hunky dory… therefore, must be rejected”.

    But, therefore, you reject your own policy, because its not ‘hunky dory’ right now, either.

    Though it is incredibly unlikely that we both might be wrong – I’d doubt it.

    Therefore, the measure of the policy is not whether the situation is ‘hunky dory’ or not.

    The measure of the policy is based on honor and moral action – regardless of the situation – good or bad.

    • USWeapon says:

      I did not claim that the current policy is right. In fact, if you recall from my past writings, I am in favor of us not interfering in their business. I favor a completely defensive posture from the US and its military.

      But you began with the premise that if we leave them alone they will like us because our meddling is the cause. Your statement was that they have no problem with what we believe. I correctly stated that your statement was incorrect.

      Nice attempt at a diversion though.

      • Black Flag says:

        See my multi-part (probably 8 sections) post on the history of US and Western interventions in the Middle East.

  38. I believe in “innocent until proven guilty.” Torture assumes guilt before proving anything.

  39. USW,

    Because I feel so strongly about some of the subject matter being discussed and stated by a few of the posters on this thread, I shall remove myself from this thread. I cannot, for obvious reasons, continue to contribute to this thread in a civilized manner. I will look in tomorrow to see what the subject matter will be.

  40. I will readily admit that the techniques outlined above in USW’s article do not seem like torture to me. Just wanted to clarify that point.

  41. USW

    Please review again my post at #22.

    Do you have any info with regard to the question I raise at the conclusion?

    Also, did the meaning of “severe” come up in your training or do you have any info on how this has been interpreted? This obviously relates to my other question.

    JAC

  42. Andrew Gabriel says:

    If our only recourse to achieve our means and to preserve our freedom is violence, be it torture or all out warfare, or measuring violence with degrees of it, then maybe, just maybe we are not deserving of the freedom we claim to cherish.

    • Andrew

      Does you statement allow us to defend ourselves or retaliate against those trying to take our freedom?

      JAC

      • Andrew Gabriel says:

        Yes, self defense is different and acceptable. But when we decide to defend our freedom by commiting a crime in order to be free, it just seems to me that is goes against our idea of freedom. For instance, the whole idea of pre-emptive strikes. I mean come on, you haven’t done anything, but just in case you plan or think of doing something, we will attack you first. Huh? come again, how does that work, doesn’t that make us the agressor?

        • TexasChem says:

          Well… you see Andrew, Israel is in this predicament as of right this very minute.Do you have any doubt whatsoever in your mind that once the Iranians have a nuclear device they will not use it as soon as they could against Israel?I believe the IDF should initiate a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear capabilities right now since Iran will not cooperate with UN guidelines.

          • Black Flag says:

            Why the heck do you believe that a country who hasn’t invaded another country for over 300 years would suddenly nuke another???

            You must read my expose on Middle East, the first 3 parts are here and the other 6 are on their way…

  43. I came across a doument published by the International Committee of the Red Cros in which they provide verbatim testimony of the detainees experiences. My initial reaction was that there was not really any torture from the PHYSICAL methods employed. To me, being forced to be naked and use a bucket as a toliet does not seem incredibly harsh. So too while I do not want to be slapped in the face, I can think of worse ways to treat a person.

    However while the physical treatment I can let go, it is the psychological treatment I cannot. The issue that keeps arising is over basic human dignity. It is abhorrent morally to dehumanise a person.

    Yet from this document I do not necessarily believe the detainees suffered this effect. I agree that there is an ethical issue concerning the medical personnel present. But morally speaking, I don’t know. Check out the document and let me know what you think.

    http://www.nybooks.com/icrc-report.pdf

  44. Black Flag says:

    Many times on the site, participants attribute motives of fanatics and hatred of those who oppose us in the Middle East. This belief that they are attacking us -who are innocent- makes some support continuing policies that only continues to inflame the region.

    Many do not understand or see the longer term consequences initiated years in the past now coming to consequence in their lifetime.

    Without this understanding, many people become confused to why a group of people actively express hatred toward the USA, and actively attempt to inflict violence against her citizens. Since these people cannot see the rational roots of the conflict, they are eager to accept the irrational motives such as fanaticism.

    However, if one understands the long history of Western Intervention in the Middle East, an understanding and explanation to “Why do they hate us and attack us?” becomes clear – and with it, the possibility of real solutions.

    Books are written explaining the depth of the historical involvement – so brevity prevails on a blog, the highlights. To accomplish the brevity, I’ve taken the liberty of extracting text from sources and editing them to remove opinion (as much as possible) and injecting facts.

    This is a huge topic, filled with information and details – all necessary to understand the Middle East. Without the effort to grasp these issues, and with that, implementation of erstwhile policies, the United States is unlikely to survive its involvement.

    As the United States finds itself in crisis in the Middle East, it is vital to ask why there should be hostility toward America in that region. Some insight can be gained by surveying official U.S. conduct in the Middle East since the end of World War II. <herein is a fundamental, yet overlooked, distinction between understanding and excusing.

    The purpose of this dialogue is not to pardon acts of violence against innocent people but to understand the reasons that drive people to violent political acts. The stubborn and often self-serving notion that the historical record is irrelevant because political violence is inexcusable ensures that Americans will be caught in crises in the Middle East and elsewhere for many years to come.

    Part One:

    After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.

    It is vital to understand that though much of the distrust is due to the actions of European Powers, it is The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, that has inherited the entirety of this distrust and anger.

    Just as the United States chose to inherent the Vietnam War from France, the nation’s leadership has chosen to inherit the Middle East from British (and somewhat the French) histories. Today, it is America that is now the frequent object of suspicion and venom.

    Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region’s political conflicts.

    Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East.

    The most recent part of that record, which includes U.S. alliances with Iraq to counter Iran and then with Iran and Syria to counter Iraq, illustrates a theme that has been played in Washington for the last 45 years. We suffer, today, with such duplicity of motives.

    In the aftermath of the most overt and direct U.S. attempt to manage affairs in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, it is more important than ever to understand how the United States came to be involved in the region and the disastrous consequences of that involvement. President Bush’s willingness to sacrifice American lives to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, to restore the “legitimate” government of that feudal monarchy, and to create a “new world order” proceeds logically from the premises and policies of past administrations. His son proceeded to complete that task.

    The new order will be far more dangerous than the old, because it will feature an activist U.S. foreign policy without the inhibitions that were formerly imposed by the superpower rivalry. That bodes ill for the people of the Middle East, as well as for the long-suffering American citizens, who will see their taxes continue to rise, their consumer economy increasingly distorted by military spending, and their blood spilled–all in the name of U.S. leadership.

  45. Black Flag says:

    Part Two

    Oil

    If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades.

    Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait.

    During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”

    Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region. Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement).

    In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.

    When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil.

    Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington’s claim to world leadership.

    The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to “moderate,” pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term “regional stability.”

    What threatened American access to the region? Although much was made of the Soviet threat, the Soviets did not act seriously in the Middle East.

    The primary perceived threat was indigenous–namely, Arab and Iranian nationalism, which appears to have been the dominant concern from 1945 on. “The most serious threats may emanate from internal changes in the gulf states,” a congressional report stated in 1977. Robert W. Tucker, the foreign policy analyst who advocated in the 1970s that the United States take over the Middle Eastern oil fields militarily, predicted that the “more likely” threat to U.S. access to the oil would “arise primarily from developments indigenous to the Gulf.”

    The rise of Arab nationalism or Muslim fundamentalism, or any other force not sufficiently obeisant to U.S. interests, would threaten American economic and worldwide political leadership (and the profits of state-connected corporations). As Tucker wrote, “It is the Gulf that forms the indispensable key to the defense of the American global position.”

    Thus, any challenge to U.S. hegemony had to be prevented or at least contained.

    The government sought foreign sources of oil during World War II because it believed U.S. reserves were running out. The relationship between the U.S. government and large American oil companies remained close throughout the war, despite differences over such issues as the government’s part ownership of commercial enterprises. The oil companies and the State Department coordinated their efforts to ensure themselves a major role in the Middle East.

    With this significant understanding, one can understand the extreme, asymmetrical support for Israel as a both a distraction from the oil regime – making its cause the focus of intervention instead of oil hegemony – and at the same time becoming a trusted base of operations from which to extend US hegemony into the region.

  46. Black Flag says:

    Part Three

    Iran and Oil

    Iran and the Soviets, 1945-47

    The first U.S. intervention in the Middle East after World War II grew directly out of U.S. participation in that conflict.

    During the war, U.S. noncombatant troops were stationed in Iran to help with the transfer of equipment and supplies to the Soviet Union.

    The Red Army invaded the northern part of the country in 1941; the British invaded central and southern Iran.

    In the Tripartite Treaty of January 1942 (not signed by the United States), the Soviet Union and Great Britain had said that their presence there was not an “occupation” and that all troops would be withdrawn within six months of the end of the war.

    At the Tehran conference in late 1943, the United States pledged, along with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, to help rebuild and develop Iran after the war. Those countries gave assurances of Iranian sovereignty, although that may have been a mere courtesy to a host country that had not even been notified that a summit would be held on its soil.

    The Soviet Union broke its promise about withdrawing. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin viewed the part of Iran that bordered his country as important to Soviet security, and he was aware of the U.S. and British designs on Iran, which had traditionally sided with the Soviet Union’s enemies.

    The Soviets meddled in Iranian government affairs, oppressed the middle class in the north, and helped revive the suppressed Iranian Communist (Tudeh) party. When the war ended, the British and U.S. forces left Iran, but the Soviet troops moved southward.

    They by then had established two separatist regimes headed by Soviet-picked leaders (the Autonomous People’s Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People’s Republic) and kept the Iranians from putting down separatist uprisings. (The Azerbaijanis and Kurds, members of large ethnic groups that live in several countries, had long hated the rulers in Tehran.) Negotiations between the Soviets and Iran’s prime minister, Qavam as-Saltaneh, won Moscow the right to intervene on behalf of the Azerbaijani regime, an oil concession in the north, and the appointment of three Communists to the Iranian cabinet.

    That Soviet conduct irritated President Harry S Truman. The United States formally protested to Stalin and then to the UN Security Council. Those actions succeeded in getting the Soviets to leave, although Truman may also have threatened to send forces into Iran if Stalin did not withdraw his troops.

    In late 1946 the Truman administration encouraged Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, who succeeded his father in 1941, to forcibly dismantle the separatist regimes the Soviets had left behind.

    In 1947 the administration objected to the use of intimidation (by others) to win commercial concessions in Iran and promised to support the Iranians on issues related to national resources. As a result, the Iranian government refused to ratify the agreement with the Soviets on the oil concession in the north.

    Truman’s high-profile use of the United Nations and his bluster against the Soviets were the beginning of U.S. post-war involvement in the Middle East.

    In 1947 Truman issued his Truman Doctrine, pledging to “assist free people to work out their own destinies in their own way,” ostensibly to thwart the Soviets in Greece and Turkey.

    But in reality, it marked the formal succession of the United States to the position of influence that Great Britain had previously held in the Middle East.

    Mossadegh and the Shah, 1953

    When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, his administration had one overriding foreign policy objective: to keep the Soviet Union from gaining influence and possibly drawing countries away from the U.S. orbit. To that end, the USA crafted a policy the primary principle of which was the impossibility of neutrality in the cold war – there was no such thing as an independent course; a country was either with the United States or against it. This policy holds echos today.

    That principle helps explain much of the Eisenhower administration’s conduct in the Middle East, for if there was one region in which the United States strove to prevent what it called Soviet penetration, it was the Middle East.

    The earliest direct U.S. involvement occurred in Iran. Even before Eisenhower took office, political turbulence in that country was on the rise, prompted by discontent over Iran’s oil royalty arrangement with the British-owned Anglo Iranian Oil Company.

    A highly nationalist faction (the National Front) of the Majlis, or parliament, led by Moham med Mossadegh, nationalized the oil industry. (Nationalization was considered a symbol of freedom from foreign influence.) Mossadegh, whom the shah reluctantly made prime minister after the nationalization, opposed all foreign aid, including U.S. assistance to the army.

    He also refused to negotiate with the British about oil, and in late 1952 he broke off relations with Great Britain.

    In the United States, officials feared that loss of Iranian oil would harm the European Recovery Program.

    The Truman administration put its relations with Great Britain first and participated in an international boycott of Iranian oil.

    Under that pressure, Mossadegh came through the crisis with increased, and in some ways authoritarian, powers. On August 10, 1953, the shah, unable to dominate Mossadegh, left Tehran for a long “vacation” on the Caspian Sea and then in Baghdad. But he did not leave until he knew that a U.S. operation was under way to save him.

    The American intervention of August 1953 was a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations.

    It left a running wound that bled for twenty-five years and contaminated relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79.

    London had first suggested a covert operation to Washington about a year earlier. The British were mainly concerned about their loss of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

    Operation Ajax was hatched–the brainchild of the CIA’s Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran. Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.

    The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah.

    The covert operation began, appropriately enough, with assurances to Mossadegh from the U.S. ambassador, Loy Henderson, that the United States did not plan to intervene in Iran’s internal affairs.

    The operation then filled the streets of Tehran with mobs of people–many of them thugs– who were loyal to the shah or who had been recipients of CIA largess.

    In the ensuing turmoil, which included fighting in the streets that killed 300 Iranians, Mossadegh fled and was arrested. On August 22, 12 days after he had fled, the shah returned to Tehran. Mossadegh was sentenced to three years in prison and then house arrest on his country estate.

    Once restored to power, the shah entered into an agreement with an international consortium, 40 percent of which was held by American oil companies, for the purchase of Iranian oil.

    In succeeding years the United States regarded the shah as a key ally in the Middle East and provided his repressive and corrupt government with billions of dollars in aid and arms.

    The restoration of the shah to the Peacock Throne engendered immense hostility toward the United States and had cataclysmic consequences.

    The revolutionary torrent that built up was ultimately too much for even the United States to handle. By the late 1970s the shah and his poor record on human rights had become so repugnant to the State Department under Cyrus Vance that almost any alternative was deemed preferable to the shah’s rule.

    On January 16, 1979, the shah, as he had in 1953, took leave of his country–this time for good.

    When the monarchy was finally overthrown in the 1978-79 revolution, which was inspired by Islamic fundamentalism and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranians held Americans hostage for over a year at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and the United States suffered a humiliating repudiation of its foreign policy in the Middle East.

    Iran and Israel had been built up over the years into the chief U.S. security agents in the region.

    Now Iran would no longer perform that function, and more of the burden had to be shifted to Israel.

  47. I have a good friend, a trilingual army interrogator who trained at the SERE school, and I tend to take his word over that of pundits and politicians attempting to justify bad behavior. Waterboarding is torture – there’s absolutely no debate about it.

    I challenge anyone who says it is not torture to do 2 things:

    First, go and find one single instance outside of the last 8 years where America has not prosecuted waterboarding as torture. If you can actually manage to do so, proceed to step 2: volunteer to be waterboarded by a SERE instructor for no less than 20 seconds. When you’ve successfully accomplished both of those, then you can come back and tell me it’s not torture.

    • David:

      Re you first challenge. There is no way to prove or disprove because if waterboarding were done it would be in secret. The only cases we would know of were those prosecuted. We would not know of any that occurred but that were not prosecuted. Without full knowledge of how often and by whom the method was used we can not reach a rational conclusion.

      There are two parts to this issue. One is legal the other ethical, or moral. Your second challenge goes to the moral as we each define what that means. I do not disagree with your conclusion. However, we can not determine legality based on individual interpretation or morality. Law would be meaningless.

      I submit that the law, per the treaty language provided by USW, probably allows waterboarding (again, based on information provided here). Depending again on the meaning of the key word “severe”. If we as a people do not wish to accept this method then we have the option to list those specific practices we deem to be off limits. That does not mean we can assign a legal term to a moral determination. It means we can go beyond the letter of the law based on our own moral grounds.

      These distinctions are very important as they keep our foreign agents out of trouble and they keep laws meaningful to those who agree to them.

      If there is an accepted definition within a legal document, signed by different countries, then that is the ultimate say on the matter. Torture is not defined by our own sensitivities, ability to withstand pain, moral standards, or opinions of grandstanding poly ticktions.

      Now, the question I have is are there other bits of information that are missing. Have lists been developed by the signatories to the treaty identifying specific practices as being deemed “torture”. Are there cases of some kind that support one position or the other. US prosecution of soldiers or policemen who have violated military code or civil rights of prisoners is not the evidence we need. It must be decisions reached in relation to the treaty involved.

      I know you may not like this but it is important we understand the difference. If we don’t like a law we can change it. We can not simply start declaring certain activities are unlawful, when the law is not clear that they are.

      Sorry for taking so much time
      JAC

      • First Point:
        If waterboarding is not tortore and therefore not illegal, why is it always done in secret? And why are all cases of waterboarding prosecuted? Because it is torture and it is illegal.

        Second Point:
        You said “List those specific practices we deem to be off limits”. If that was done, it would be easy to find something not listed and use that. Can’t pull out fingernails? Then pull out toenails instead…

        Everyone is getting caught up on the definition of the word “severe”. But the OLC memos clearly did not follow Article 2 – they were written to find a way around it, even though it clearly states “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever”:

        “Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under its jurisdiction. This prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever” may be invoked to justify torture…”

        • USWeapon says:

          Todd,

          I don’t argue your point, but you are a little twisted up on what is what. Article 2 defines when torture can be done (never) and Article 1 states what it is. So you are saying the OLC memos tried to find a way around article 1. As to your first point, everything is done in secret. As for this case, waterboarding wasn’t really done in “secret” since they went to a federal judge to get approval. I suspect that you simply don’t like Republicans and this seems like a “Republican” thing so you will oppose it no matter what. If you are simply loyal to your party, you are completely missing the point.

          • They didn’t go to a Federal Judge to get waterboarding Ok’d. A lawyer wrote the first memo, and he was later appointed by Bush to become a Judge.

            And you suspect wrong. – I don’t simple dislike Republicans. I used to be a Conservative Republican, until I saw what Bush was doing after 9/11. Tax cuts for the wealthy, lying to the American people to make up an excuse to invade Iraq when it had nothing to do with 9/11…and the list goes on and on…

            And for the last 6 months or so, I’ve actually enjoyed the Republicans – they put on quite the entertaining show!

            But I suppose since I am loyal to my own beliefs – which don’t match up with yours – I’m still missing the point…

  48. Excellent post. You covered the physical and practical aspects wonderfully with an informed and intelligent argument.

    However…

    … there is also the mental trauma, confinement, fear of ‘what-comes-next’ all can lead to what i would call ‘severe’ mental torture.

    I have been a mental health professional, and all men are not made equal. There is a different mind set between professional soldier and militant, between conscript and volunteer. We are shaped by our culture, our experiences, and our genes, what would crush one man, may be water off another’s back (or face if you pardon the pun). Put me in a dark room with no sleep where I couldn’t stretch out strait and I’d be a gibbering wreck.

    These prisoners had not read the user manual; they had no idea that there were safety limits. I’m sure they had heard of prisoners beaten to death in Iraq prisons (and no doubt an exaggerated number), people had been vanish and never heard from again, they knew that leaders like Saddam had been hung, and that protests of innocence were unlikely to be any protection.

    Necessary (assuming actual useful intelligence was gathered) or not, the whole episode was as shameful as it was unsurprising.

  49. Who is to say any of those methods were used or were even the methods used? What if…they gave a list to shut the people up because they are tired of hearing about Americans wanting to prosecute someone that had ties with the Bush administration? What if they made this list up to once again distract us and keep us arguing over what is torture and what is not torture? What if the military came and gathered up million of Americans and used these same techniques on us because we are “right wing extremist” and they feel that we have knowledge of something that they need to know? What if our government was the enemy and cause of every topic and discussion we have? What if…….

    Something to think about.

  50. LumberMan says:

    Lets sit back and think about this.

    Was their [Jihadist] goal on attacking the U.S. to kill many Americans?
    Or was it a test to determine that in the face of unspeakable atrocities, the U.S. would
    abandon all sense of what makes us America. In the span of time following that horrendus day we effectively abandoned our morals, our ethics and the RULE OF LAW which governs this nation and that NO MAN IS ABOVE THE LAW.

    • Exactly! When we sink to their level, they win…

      The Office of Legal Council (OLC) wrote these memos to justify torture. They also wrote the memos to justify the “Warrantless Wiring Tapping” program by the NSA, and they wrote memos justifying suppressing the Freedom of the Press – the 1st Amendment! After all, we were at war… The Bush Administration repelled this memo the week before Obama was inaugurated.

      How would all of you feel if the OLC had written a memo to suppress the 2nd Amendment?? After all, we’re at war and we can’t risk all kinds of people running around with guns opposing the war…

  51. justasqpeg says:

    I may be mistaken, but didn’t the US execute Japanese soldiers for using “waterboarding” to torture during WWII?

  52. Ray Hawkins says:

    This thread wore me the hell out – thanks everyone for the liveliness and thanks US – I effectively missed an entire day of work. 🙂

    Next please………

  53. I think what a lot of you are missing here is the ‘escalating’ of the techniques. Do you really think they just slapped them a few times on the face and banged them against the wall a few times? I would imagine it ‘escalated’ to a pretty good beating pretty fast, but always being careful not to inflict injuries that would not heal, because they couldn’t cover that up.

    What about the soldiers at Abu Ghraib who were court marshaled and sent to prison for torturing? And President Bush called them “a few American troops who dishonored our country and disregarded our values”, when they were actually following the techniques outlined in the torture memos? Do you think that’s a coincidence? These low-level troops came up with the same techniques just by chance? They were following orders right from the top, but they were scape goats for the Bush administration.

    Jay Bybee, the author of the first memo authorizing torture on Aug. 1, 2002, is now a judge on the United States Court of Appeals. He proposed using 10 such techniques “in some sort of escalating fashion, culminating with the waterboard, though not necessarily ending with this technique.” Waterboarding, the near-drowning favored by Pol Pot and the Spanish Inquisition, was prosecuted by the United States in war-crimes trials after World War II. But Bybee concluded that it “does not, in our view, inflict ‘severe pain or suffering.’ ”

    So is it only torture when another country does it?

    Here’s an article about the success of using non-torture interrogation techniques:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/opinion/23soufan.html?ref=opinion

    And one about the real reason for using torture – to connect Al Qaeda and Iraq and justify the US invasion of Iraq:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/opinion/26rich.html?_r=1

    For those of you who claim that releasing the torture memos might endanger the US – How about the use of torture to justify the Iraq war – causing 4000+ US casualties? And around $1 trillion. And you all complain about taxes…

    And if you all think torture by the US is ok, you’d better hope none of our soldiers or citizens are captured by foreign governments. Because if they are, we can not protest their poor treatment/torture, because if the US tortures, then so can any other country…

    Like the US/Iranian citizen now on a hunger strike in an Iranian jail. At least she had a 1 day MOCK trail. We just hold people at Gitmo for 5-6-7 years.

    The USA is better than this. We do not torture. All the pathetic little word-plays to justify torture are just that – PATHETIC!

    • Bama dad says:

      “I think what a lot of you are missing here is the ‘escalating’ of the techniques. Do you really think they just slapped them a few times on the face and banged them against the wall a few times? I would imagine it ‘escalated’ to a pretty good beating pretty fast, but always being careful not to inflict injuries that would not heal, because they couldn’t cover that up.”

      Do you really know if they were escalated? We try to stick to the facts here, not partision talking points.

  54. After reading the back on forth on this, I guess the question we ALL need to ask ourselves is this: Are we willing to do anything/everything to be victorious? Yes or no. None of the buts, what if’s, etc. Yes or no. If the answer is Yes, then we do it whatever it takes, and don’t second guess. If the answer is No, then we surrender now, and accept our fate. Fighting, but not fighting to win is just plain stupid.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      What is your answer? I believe in the rule of law which in response to your question likely means anything/everything is not part of the equation.

      • kenneth arnold says:

        In war, it is law of the jungle. No other. You can preach morals all day long, but the enemy will still kill you.

        • USWeapon says:

          Kenneth,

          Believe me, as a veteran and one who had to make those choices, I agree with you in principle. However see my reply to Ray.

        • LumberMan says:

          I hate to argue semantics but…what about the desert? Is there a “law of the desert”?

      • TexasChem says:

        Grey again no black and white, I notice this a lot with liberal minded people.

      • USWeapon says:

        I agree Ray. The question then becomes “If we decide to abandon rule of law in order to gain a victory, have we already lost?”

        The answer to that may be yes. It may be no. I am not sure. But it is something to think about.

    • Black Flag says:

      No, and that does not mean surrender – you are attempting to create false dichotomies.

      You have failed to define what “victory” means – further, failed to define what goal we’re trying to achieve.

      • So I guess your answer is ‘no’. You are not personally willing to do what it takes to be victoriuos (whatever victoious means to you).

      • BF,

        I’m not trying to do anything but make people THINK. I know what victorious means to me. Everyone should know what it means to them. That is all I’m saying. You like Ray, seem obseesed with taking the moral high ground. You may have it so far as I’m concerned. I’m not interested in claiming the moral high ground. Also, it is not my responsibility to define anything for anybody but myself. I would think that everyone at this site is capable of doing their own thinking. If they are not, that explains a few things.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          “it is not my responsibility to define anything for anybody but myself”

          Really? Now you’re being deceitful – you specifically referred to me as a wimp and question my manhood because of how I handled a situation that may have nearly cost me my life. Who is talking out of both sides of their mouth now Cyndi?

      • Black Flag says:

        If one can not define victory – there is nothing to win.

        • BF,

          I can define victory FOR MYSELF. Are you asking me to define victory for you? Will you accept MY definition for you? That was/is my original point. Is that not plain? Do I need to spoon feed this to people, or can they work it out for themselves? If you want spoon feeding just say so.

          Again, point/question: If Americans don’t know what victory is, how can they achieve it?

      • Black Flag says:

        Further, what good is victory if the path to achieve it destroys the nation.

        “If we are victorious in one more battle, we shall be utterly ruined.”

        -King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War.

        • That is a very good point, BF. How many people upset about ‘torture’, and war, and peace, etc. have really thought about it? How many are willing to pay the price? How many have pondered the results? I get the feeling that most people have not, including Bush, Obama, Congress, anti-war activists, the whole bunch. All the seconding guessing should have occurred BEFORE the first shot was fired. Now that we’re seven years into it, we don’t have the luxuries we had then.

          • LumberMan says:

            We tried…we were called un-American and un-Patriotic and thrown under the bus and dismissed.

    • I stayed quiet on this topic because the opposition, Ray and BF, thus far did a great job of addressing every point I would have made. So kudos.

      In response to surrendering now and accepting our fate if we don’t do “whatever it takes”…

      Rape as a means of controlling a population is working great in the Sudan, maybe we should try that in our war zones.
      The nuclear option would definitely lead to victory if we just vaporized everyone and anyone who disagrees.

      Fighting, but not committing genocide, torture, and atrocity is the best course of action. It unfortunately just doesn’t seem that American any more. And that is stupid.

      • Skot,

        I don’t advocate rape. I don’t know how you got that impression. I stand by my position that when you/one fights, not fighting to win is stupid. If your not interested in winning, why are you fighting in the first place? That is all I was getting at.

        • I didn’t get that impression I was just using an extreme example. I was saying if one is for using any and every means of destroying a foe why not use these example. That said, of my 2 extreme examples you only replied to 1. So does that mean you advocate using nuclear weapons in our fighting?

          • I don’t advocte we nuke’em if we are not willing to live with the results. My point, again, is we need to decide what we are and are not will to do in order to achieve our definition of victory.

            • LumberMan says:

              Cyndi-

              “Do what it takes to win”

              There is a current “war on drugs” yes?

              Then by your standards we should waterboard and “wall”
              kids that get caught with pot untill they give up their dealer, yes?

              • USWeapon says:

                Lumberman,

                Not an accurate or fair question. It sounds as though you are appealing to emotions to win the point instead of appealing to reason. No one here has at any point advocated torturing children. Stick to the argument based on facts and logic, not emotional appeals.

    • CyndiP:

      I think second of your proposed options contains a false assumption. That is if we are not willing to do anything that surrender is our only other option.

      We have waged and won wars/conflicts without doing anything and everything. We do not have to become absolute savages to win a war. And then there is the question of whether a war is just the military conflict or some greater objective.

      Two theories of war exist. One, war is the breakdown of politics. Two, war is an extension of politics. The USA has been operating under number two since at least the Spanish American War.

      My concern is that Americans are no longer willing to do what is needed to win, even in a politically acceptable manner. Look how quick the public support changed in Iraq when it started getting ugly. Of course that might have been buyers remorse starting to set in as well.

      Best Wishes
      JAC

      • JAC,

        If we are not willing to do ‘anything’ to win, and surrender in not an option, what is the other option? I’m guessing it means fight until you are destroyed, or fight until you are no longer able to fight and are destroyed. Is there one I missed?

        I share your concern about the American people. Personally, I will walk away from a fight in most cases. I’ve walked away when most people wouldn’t have. I don’t like to fight, but when I feel I need to fight, I fight with all that I have.

        • Cyndi:

          Your still missing my point I think. That is that you are assuming that if we don’t do “everything” we will lose. That is a false assumption when constructing options. If someone puches you in the nose and you decide to fight have you already decided, before swinging back, that you are willing to pull a gun and kill them should the fight no go so well using just your fists?

          When we decide to fight a war it should be fought to win, period. It should also be fought to win while minimizing the loss of American lives. We do not have to abandon all we stand for to win. We do all that is required to win within the constraints of who we are, a nation of laws not brutes.

          Remember, the topic here was the supposed violation of laws we signed onto. We can not do that.
          Did we? I am not convinced from the evidence provided becasue as I said above, this is a legal issue not one of individual opinions. The politicians have made it an argument over personal values. That is deliberate manipulation of the citizenry to the detriment of those we have asked to defend us. It is aborrant and if I had the switch (willow) there are a few congressmen and women who would get a good ol’ fashion whoopin.

          I hope this helps clarify
          JAC

          • JAC,

            I get your point. Let me answer your question. Yes, if I decide to fight, I am very willing to pull a gun or knife and I intend to kill or be killed. I believe it comes from years of abuse. I am a walking time bomb. Most people who know me, know this, and don’t go around punching me. I’m very good at walking away from abusive people. So the general public is perfectly safe so long as they don’t assult me. As for the Geneva Convention. It applies to uniformed soldiers. Last time I look, the Jihad were not carrying the flag of another country or wearing that country’s uniform. I don’t know why there is debate over applying the GC to them in the first place.

            • USWeapon says:

              Cyndi

              You are correct about the Geneva Convention. It should be noted however, that the definitions I supplied above come from the UN Conventon Against Torture, not the Geneva Conventions. And it does apply to this situation.

  55. Ray,

    You said <>

    How am I being deceitful? How am I playing immature verbal gymnastics? You read things in my post that were not there. I did not specifically call you a wimp. You did. What I said is you came across as a wimp. I did not say you are a wimp. If you feel like a wimp that is your choice. If you don’t feel like a wimp, that also, is your choice. I too, have had experiences that almost cost me my life. I’m now much more careful about what I do. I think about what I am about do, and think a step ahead about what might go wrong. I go sailing/boat fairly often. We make sure we have water, food, radios, fuel if not on a sailboat, and we check weather reports. We all can swim. We all have some varyng degree of how to sail/pilot a boat. Now for the marital rape. I was told that I DID deserve because I enabled it by sticking around to let him do it. When I first heard that, I was angry. Then I realized that it was true. I enabled the rape by being around him. So I ended the raped by ending the relationship. No woman deserves to be raped. But it happens. She can choose to survive or not. Up to her. As for questioning your manhood, you’re still hung up on it, not me. So….

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Tell ya what – this is going no where – when you say:

      “You really sound like a wimp. Good grief, my daughter is tougher than that. We’ve all had unpleasant experiences in life. Some of us choose to face them and overcome. Others don’t, and that’s fine, but they shouldn’t feel entitiled to force those fears on the rest of us. Your post makes me think that your aren’t really a grown man, but more of a man boy. Is that the impression you want to give? The harsh methods don’t seem all that bad to me. Ive had similar stuff done to me and I survived. Only girlie-men couldn’t handle it.”

      I’ll just have to assume that you literally mean that I SOUND like a wimp or I may SOUND like a ‘girlie-man’ – and therefore will not get upset – after all – saying I sound like something does not mean I am. So, if in the future I refer to you as sounding like a %itch or a &unt or a %hore I don’t mean that you are any of those things – only that you sound like those things.

      See how childish this becomes?

      • Ray,

        Wow. I read your post and was thinking “He gets it!” Then I read the last couple of lines, and thought, oh no, he doesn’t. How long are you going to allow me to wind you up over MY perception of your manhood? You were almost there when you placed the emphasis on SOUND. Then you went on to imply that I am a bitch and whore. Well, if that’s your opinion, fine. I know what I am, but I’ll let that slide. I expected you to have that reaction, and I confess, it was my intent. My objective in upseting you is to make a point. You KNOW what type of man you are. You are also letting some asshole waste your time and energy DEFENDING it. Wouldn’t your time and energy be better spent on more productive business? I could go on with why I believe am a wonderful woman, but that time and energy is better spent on other things. Do you see what I’ve been getting at for the last two days? Now, on to the interrogations. When Americans spend time and energy fighting each other over something that happened in the past, and is longer be done, we waste our collective reasources (time and energy) that could better directed toward defeating our enemy. We are doing their work for them. Do you see that? Does anyone see that? By fighting each other, we weaken our resovle to win, and our enemy doesn’t have to do a thing but get the thing started by claiming ‘torture’.

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Cyndi – we’re simply not ‘connecting’ on what person means versus what another interprets. I have no basis to think you are anything other than what you have stated (e.g. as a loving caring Mother and someone who has dealt with life’s challenges in her own way) and opinionated on some things I vehemently disagree with.

          To the chagrin of others I see most issues with colors and hues – this isn’t one of them and nothing presented herein is going to change it. I’d only wished it’d never have made it as ‘news’ because that is not the best place to resolve this one.

          • Ray,

            I now understand where you are coming from, and I get the impression you now understand where I come from. Yes, we deal with life’s challenges in different ways. Neither one right or wrong. Thank you for giving me some credit. I give you some credit too. I guess this means we can be friends now, right?

            :o)

    • CyndiP

      I’ve never asked this of anyone on this blog, but I’m gonna ask you now. Please trust me on this, we do not need torture.

      I get the impression that many here support or take a stance in favor of ‘doing what ever it takes’ because I believe that some how, some where, the impression was given that we, the soldiers or other agencies need this tool. I think it is out of support that many take this line and that is admirable, support the cause, but to mix metaphors here, by the time you get to torture as the tool you use, the house is already fully involved with flames and the torture tool may or may not give you info to save anyone and the time you are dicking with the torture tool tells me that other, valuable tools for firefighting, have been neglected.

      I’ll give ya a real world here. Just one because I am the only one involved, I will never talk about what I have or have not seen or heard of here because the whole topic is so volatile that many misrepresentations and bad things can come from the misconstrued.

      I got very little intell from higher last tour, but no biggie, for me to bitch about no intell back then would be like the baker bitching about getting no bread. I worked RECON so I was developing and providing intell that higher used to inform the others. I gotta tell ya though, a lil heads up about this that or the other once in a while would have been nice.

      I had several occasions where the intell that might save my life, the type of intell many argue is exactly the type that we should be willing to torture for, was given to me. Hand delivered so to speak, brought right up to me with out me ever asking.

      I had a poppy farmer warn me about an ambush being set for me on the road leaving the south of the village. Thank you very much, I’ll leave by the north and if my radio will work, I’ll call it on in to higher.

      I had little kids run over an tell me about the “bomb” just put in the road, around the corner, of the road I was going to be leaving this particular village . Thank you very much, could you point it out from a safe distance and I’ll take care of it. Again, thanks much folks.

      I had kids point out the IED that was emplaced 10 meters behind a check point that the Italians had been operating almost daly and yet they were unaware. The kids told me, not the Italians. Again, thanks much folks, I’ll take care of it.

      Ok, now I pause.

      Please, no one be so stupid as to raise the point that all this was given me, or I was lucky.

      Now I revert to speaking like a senior nco, were I more articulate, well…

      I fucking rolled out into areas than no one, I mean NO FUCKING ONE was operating. I was a leader of a very small group of host national and usually just one other American. To say my life was in constant danger is the fucking understatement of the year. But fuck it, that was the job and I am rock fucking solid at it.

      I ate shit that made me puke so I could bond with those people, I was able to keep it down in front of them but the fucking e-coli or what the fuck ever caught up with me many times. So what.

      I carry H.P laury or how ever it is spelled, in my gut to this day. It raised its ugly little fucking head after I’d been home for 6 months, I have tried killing it twice. It aint going nowhere. HPL sucks ass, I’ve got it. So fucking what.

      I developed a trust be treating people with respect and a level of honesty that they didn’t even show each other. I earned their trust by being first, walking point or heading out into an area where a threat to them was present. I led out in a fucking war that these people wouldn’t fight for themselves but recognized the courage and sacrifices on my part every time I fought it for them. Screw it, so what.

      I slept in shit, froze my ass off and went soaking wet for days because these people wouldn’t even allow me to sleep with their fucking goats but I was out there, in the wee morning darkness to fight the enemies that came for the villagers. Great, part of the job, so what.

      I jeopardized my career by not reporting the locations of the poppy farmers and allowed them their harvests. Fuck the DEA and all the other assorted assholes over here trying to fuck up my AO. The poppy farmers never got the development money sent them by the US gov because it all was sent to district elders.”let the district elders distribute the money, it’s the Afghan way’ . Fuck you, you dumb shit! And, BTW, you want me to give you a 10 digit grid to these fields so the DEA, which BTW, WTF is the DEA doing here, so the DEA can roll out, destroy this guys crop, hassle him, probably take his AK he has in his bedroom, and then leave. Yeh. FUCK THAT. The Taliban gave him 300$ 3 months ago and told him to grow this crop. The fucking US bank of America isn’t going to lend this guy $300 to plant a crop. If this dude don’t have the crop, the Taliban will either kill his daughter or take his son. Don’t tell me about drug money funding the Taliban. If you ride into this valley and tear up the poppies, fuck the funding for Talib AKs, you have just created at least 2 trigger pullers for the Talib.

      I went against command, there went my cool medals and my promotion to 8. So what.

      So what? I’ll tell you so what. This whole spectrum of operations is dirty, dangerous hard fucking work. Cut corners and take your fucking chances. We all know what is required to win, many don’t have the balls or the skill sets to operate on the ground, because of that we are loosing this war.

      Because I have the Balls and the skill set I was able to operate the way this shit is intended. Intertwine your security with that of the locals, tough fucking work, long haul until pay off, but getting info from some one that has developed a trust in you because of the hard, HARD, DANGEROUS FUCKING WORK you put in is always going to beat a confession squeezed out of some dude 3 days later and 100 miles away at Baghram.

      What about the other dudes you say, the dudes in Pakistan that I have no fucking idea about, that require some “stress” when snatched up. Yeh, blow me, you have no idea. I’ve got people in this village moving back and forth over the border daly, I know what and who, the when is always ify because these dumbshits aren’t big on keeping scheduals. You go ahead hot rod, go snatch some dude from the FATA, what’s he gonna give you, the next IED? He doesn’t know. He paid this dude 100$ to dig the hole, that dude 300$ to burry the bomb and wire, and that dude 400$ to blow it. That dude may or may not dig the hole, that dude may or may not plant the bomb and that dude most certainly may not blow the thing, you snatch all these dues up, ride hard on them at Bagrahm for a month or so and they just went from contact day workers to trigger pullers, nice work asshole, I’m the one that has to clean up after your mistakes.

      Torture is a crutch for a broken down system.
      Demand that they make the system better, they know how, don’t allow the cowards, lazy fucks and half steppers to define our national policy because they suck at their job.

      “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

      • SFC Dick,

        I do not advocate using torture. You and several others jumped to the conclusion that I do. Please show me where I state that torture is THE thing to do in this war. The only reason I can come up for some people on this site to jump to the conclusion that I’m a violent neaderthal who just want all muslims dead, is because someone who I can identify but will not name, implied it in one of his posts. I did not rebut the implication and so some people may have got the impression that was the case, and because its the easy way to take the moral high ground, that’ what they did.

        I read your post about what you went through, and first off I’d like to thank you for your service. I was in the peace time Army and did not have to get in the trenches like you. Second, You are right. There are much better ways to do things than are being done now. The whole point that seems to be missed here, it that I’m adovacting that we as a nation, KNOW what we are prepared to do in this fight. Our leaders at the time made the decisions. Now, whether or not these were well thought out decisions we can argue into eternity. Because we as a nation seem not to know what we are willing to do, or not do to ‘win’, whatever that means, we are fighting each other and doing our enemy’s job for him.

      • For heavens sake I could not even read all of your post because of your bad descriptive words. Would you use thse words in front of your mother or grandmother. They do not make your opinion any more dramatic. In fact. you would be wrote off as a radical.

  56. Black Flag says:

    Stratfor has pieced an article that supports USWep – they point out that it is not the debate about torture that is the issue – it is the creation of uncertainty that those, in good faith, dutiful obey orders are could be suddenly subject to a different administrations vendetta.

    Quotes follow:

    In some ways, the debate over the morality of such interrogation techniques — something we do not take a position on and will not be discussing here — has distracted many observers from examining the impact that the release of these memos is having on the ability of the U.S. government to fulfill its counterterrorism mission. And this impact has little to do with the ability to use torture to interrogate terrorist suspects.

    Politics and moral arguments aside, the end effect of the memos’ release is that people who have put their lives on the line in U.S. counterterrorism efforts are now uncertain of whether they should be making that sacrifice
    ,,,,

    Conclusion

    As we’ve previously noted, it was a lack of intelligence that helped fuel the fear that led the Bush administration to authorize enhanced interrogation techniques. Ironically, the current investigation into those techniques and other practices (such as renditions) may very well lead to significant gaps in terrorism-related intelligence from both internal and liaison sources — again, not primarily because of the prohibition of torture, but because of larger implications.

    When these implications are combined with the long-standing institutional aversion of U.S. government agencies toward counterterrorism, and with the difficulty of finding and retaining good people willing to serve in counterterrorism roles, the U.S. counterterrorism community may soon be facing challenges even more daunting than those posed by its already difficult mission.

  57. chilechild says:

    What is amazing to me is what posters use to define as permissible, legal, right, moral, etc. We define these standards according to laws, manuals, what was done to me, what was done in Viet Nam. I am Chistian and can’t find a Biblical precedent othe than “Do unto others…”. If I was an captured Islamic Terrorist that had plotted against the infidel, I would detest having to deal with infidels everyday. It would be torture to even be in contact with this scum that eats pork and believes that God walked on earth. We offend and torture Muslims by remaining Christians on this earth. What drives them crazy is when we occupy ground that rightfully belongs to Allah (all ground). I would expect the worst and laugh at waterboarding. Forced disobedience to the Koran and Slim Shady would probably be the worst. When I am not putting myself in their place, I can forgive most of the procedures listed above.

  58. citizen1 says:

    It’s amazing how one of the “torture” techniques was “slapping” a man across the face *with* only a certain number of fingers *and* only between the levels of the eye and jaw…..

    The Bush admin was so PC with slapping that they could only do it on the safest part of his face (the fleshly cheek) and only use a limited number of fingers while doing it.

    The Democrats are trying to build their image of “being strong” and then their prize politician – the President – puts politically corrected slapping on the torture list to appologize for.

    I hope we aren’t doomed because of it (terrorists thinking that if that’s all they have to prepare for when captured then there will be nothing that will hold them back!)

    Btw, check out my t-shirt design!

    http://www.cafepress.com/rwoutfitters

  59. SFC Dick says:

    Alrighty then.

    The above list does not meet the “torture stink test” for me. Period

    The argument that because we volunteered to serve it is acceptable to torture us is ridiculous. The things done to us in training, some things, are worse than those listed

    Forcing soldiers to train in severe cold using inadequate equipment and endure long periods of sleeplessness, endure to onset of hypothermia and subsequent shakes and disorientation, this results in cases of frostbite and trench foot.

    Forcing soldiers to train in cold water for extended periods of time and forcing them to endure the onset of hypothermia, shakes, and disorientation.

    Forcing soldiers to hang suspended in total body harnesses, purposely tightened to contort the soldier and causing pain in the genital regions.

    Forcing soldiers to march long distances carrying heavy loads , either logs on shoulders which causes anything from bruising to dislocation and heavy loads carried by hand that causes carpletunnel, ulna impingement and shoulder dislocation.

    I have just described an average day in basic training, a day in BUDs and a day in jump school (suspended agony day) and a day in selection.

    I haven’t touched on sleep deprivation, sever caloric reduction giving the sensation of starvation, impeding swimmer repeatedly causing “real” drowning (drowning does not always kill), exposing soldier to chemical gasses (banned in warfare) causing burning lungs, eyes, nose, skin. I could go on and on.

    I haven’t touched on what goes on in any advanced school or in the particular units.
    I wouldn’t change a thing.

    This whole thing is a political football, but I say “bring on the kick off’.
    Lets begin an investigation, PA-LEEEZE, and do not stop that investigation until I say.

    What did President Clinton “authorize”, how about President Carter?
    President Carter dealt with the Iran hostage thingy, what were folks doing under his watch?
    President Clinton had Bosnia and Haiti. What were people doing under his watch to find, say Slobadon, or gain intell in that Caribbean cesspool?

    All that being said; I say again, the above tactics do not meet my standard of torture.

    Torture, real torture is a crutch and I am firmly against it.
    Torture as a tool shows me a break down of humint, sigint and every other “int” there is.
    We , on a routine basis, cut the legs out from under our intell agencies and expect to be able to operate. We can not. Assets take years to establish an we are still reeling form past “REAL” intell breaches, not Vallery Plame crap.
    So…..here comes the alphabet boys and what do they have to offer? Not much, so they’d better make up something quick. How to get the quick, albeit suspect in reliability, intell….?

    PS, I do not think the argument of “If we do it our enemies feel emboldened and they will do stuff too” holds much water.

    Before Gitmo, before public info of boarding, before naked pyramids, the bad guys were sawing people’s heads off.

    So, one last time, does anyone, I mean anyone, know how I can get the flight line nco here to put me in a naked human pyramid and talk dirty to me, she aint going for it and now because of all the hoopla, apparently it is “no longer done” in the Army.

    “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

  60. There’s something I don’t understand about all of this. If Obama and the left can argue that our treatment of jihadist terrorists is torture and we need to be nicer, then how in the world can they also argue that abortion and especially mid- to late term abortion is OK? If our principles are set, how can these two actions match?

  61. SFC Dick says:

    CindyP

    Fair enough, i guess I aught to read the post before I respond, but where’s the fun there. I did jump to the conclusion that you advocated torture, altho it doesn’t say so anywhere in your posts. Ha!, I got a head of steam going though and there was no stopping me.

    My opologies.

    Hey, is just me or is this site busted?

    • SFC Dick says:

      uh, it’s just me.

      • SFC Dick says:

        I’ll tell ya mister. See how i’m seemingly responding to me but addressing your question anbout “what do I mean the site is busted? I have refreshed this site several times, I have followed your link in my e-mail, but I bet after I posts this in, then you comment will be visible to me. I had my super fantasctic post in a quick reset holding at “post awaiting review from the moderator for many hours, but my reply to this post went right ahead and posted. I’m thinking either bandwith issues because of your new found succes or my new virus program is makig my life a mess

        • USWeapon says:

          No, not busted. If there is a really long post or if there are links in the post, wordpress will automatically send it into moderation. At that point it stays there until I log in and approve it. That is the delay. Make sense?

    • SFC Dick,

      I give you credit too. You’re fiesty, and honest. I like that in a man….

      ;o)

    • USWeapon says:

      What do you mean is this site busted?

  62. USW,

    Okay, you cleard that up for me :o) Now, another bit of confusion on my part. Which one, UN or GC, is/was in effect the decision on harsh interogation was made? Does one supercede the other, and do they conflict, or pretty much the same thing? Not knowing which, is which, is which makes it hard to follow the details…..

    • USWeapon says:

      They were both in effect. The Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of War taken in conflict, in uniform. The UN Convention Against Torture was ratified by the US Congress in 1994 and applies to EVERYONE. It was meant to stop torture of any form by anyone against anyone else. There is no conflict between them. If you do a google search for the UN Convention Against Torture, you can see a wikipdeia article on it that explains it.

  63. CyndiP says:

    To Lumberman #54,

    If you read my posts, you would know that I did not/do not advocate torture. Torture is not required. Of course, not letting the situation deteriorate to the point where desperate measure seem appealing is of great help. Having anti drug laws that are effective, and enforcing them, would be a great start. Not coddling or tolerating drug use is good too. These measures do not require torture. Having a realistic plan, knowing what you’re willing to do, and being firm in the implimentation of the plan goes a long way in accomplishing objectives. Its a bit like parenting. If the parent tells the child what is acceptable, what is not acceptable, the reasons why things are, or are not so, then CONSISTANTLY enforces the standards, don’t most children eventaully learn how to become productive, law abiding adults? As for those children who don’t learn how to be law abiding productive adults, there is prison. I don’t believe this consists of torture. If it does, then we’re in more trouble than I thought.

  64. Well sir I completely agree with you. I really don’t consider this torture. We have to have some way to get information out of terrorist. They definitly won’t tell us because they want to be nice to us.

    • SFC Dick says:

      Judy, I agree

      Water boarding is not torture and as so put it rather nicely…

      “They definitely won’t tell us because they want to be nice to us.”

      Nope, they don’t much care for us, and by the time most combatants get to Gitmo they’ve personally met quite a few of the fighters they’d been trying to kill.

      They might be a bit, well, not full of love for the US and especially not the US fighting man.

      I am 100% against real torture to gain information.

      I take no moral stand on torture, at least I hope I haven’t given the impression that my opposition is because of morals. That is why I say “against torture to gain information”.

      Personally I don’t give a damn.

      I think there are way too many “experts” on all things war on terror running around out there, spouting off this that or the other. They have the luxury “moral stances”.

      See, war is more of an art than a science. You can array the same forces on the same battlefield time and again with different results; but this is kinda a new game ( not so new and not so different as some experts would have you believe, it just doesn’t allow a nice fit for the West Point force on force Army).

      So, since we don’t have a government clearing house education system turning out counter terrorist experts ( yeh, we have agencies, but a lot of terror “knowledge” is self taught) we have a band wagon and a half of “men with letters” filling the void.

      These are our new experts; just ask one, hell, they probably have business cards that say “terrorism expert”.

      Thing is, even when these guys are wrong, well, no harm no foul.

      So it’s a philosophical breakdown of sorts and teams or side kind of form.

      A group of experts here agree that this is the way, a big gaggle of just as important group forms over there saying that is the way.

      These sides then warn against adopting a strategy supported by the other guys over there because that will not only fail but bring total disaster.

      They will write up white papers “proving” their method and disproving the others. Of course the whole system is so incestuous that they constantly quote from each other inside the community to prove their points.

      So, is there a definitive answer on torture?

      We all read the definitions and we on this blog can’t agree on whether water boarding is torture.

      I’ll let you in on a lil’ secret, I can’t remember the exact phrase but it has to do with reaching a point during pain introduction as a method of control where you meet a point of diminished returns.

      The pain itself overrides something making the pain as a tool of compliance not only no longer effective but actually counteracts everything you were using the pain to accomplish.

      The only way I know of to “regain” a level of control is to really get, well, serious. At that point, dude really is in no position or possessing any ability to communicate what you want to know.

      Ya know, so there’s that, in real torture.

      “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

  65. Ray Hawkins says:

    “A CIA inspector general’s report from May 2004 that is set to be declassified by the Obama White House will almost certainly disprove claims that waterboarding was only used in controlled circumstances with effective results.

    On Monday, the Washington Post reported the impending release of a May 7, 2004 IG report that, the paper added, would show that in several circumstances the techniques used to interrogate terrorist suspects “appeared to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture” and did not produce desired results. It is difficult, the report will conclude, “to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/11/ig-report-waterboarding-w_n_201733.html

    I’m thinking this doesn’t look good for poor Dick Cheney.

  66. I’m pretty sure there are memos that do make Cheney look good, if only someone would cherry pick those, like they no doubt cherry picked the one referred to on Huffington Post. The only way to know for sure would be for trusted people (as if we could find some of those in goverment and the media) to carefully inspect ALL those memos. I’m afraid this is yet another example of regular folks not being able to discern the truth.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      They let the cat out of the bag – much as I despise Cheney lets have the whole truth.

  67. Lumberman says:

    I wish to share a favorite quote of mine.

    “A long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

    Thomas Paine
    Common Sense, 1776

  68. Ray Hawkins says:

    Great to see a conservative radio talk show host with a little bit of spine (sorry – not you you wuss Sean Hannity) Mancow take the waterboarding challenge and, drum roll please, change his opinion to classify waterboarding, or better yet, simulated drowning as torture. The Cheney-creeps on this are shrinking in number day by day.

    Thanks Mancow!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/22/mancow-waterboarded-video_n_206906.html

  69. Like what you did. Wishing you and yours a very happy and prosperous new year !

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