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Apr 25, 2009


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@ George

Hey, George, glad to see you post that cause here's some commentary - which by the way points out ole' Porter inadvertently admits to breaking the law in his CYA editorial. See Laura Rozen's work with help from others.


How do we maintain an effective counterterrorism effort without a breech of political correctness? How do we fight terrorism without offending the ACLU? Good luck with that.


It isnt about "political correctness." It's about breaking the law and violating treaties.

If Bush and Cheny wanted to torture prisoners, then they should have had the courage to say so in public and to call for American withdrawal from treaties that ban torture.

Instead, servile lawyers were directed to produce legal justifications for torture. Goebbels would smile.

Bush and Cheney brought shame to America. At least Bush has had the sense to keep his mouth shut since the 20 of January.


I heard an ad on WQDR a few weeks ago for jobs in the CIA. Wow, I'm guessing retention isn't going so good if they are recruiting on the local country station. I wonder why? No big deal, who needs an experienced effective CIA? We've got


No proof? I guess Obama's intelligence director didn't get the memo. The only way to know is to release the memo's that Cheney is asking to be released.


who cares. if the lord god of israel uses torture to redeem mankind from the sin of being born human, how much more noble is the act when humans use it to redeem a heretic from his infidelity by coercing a response which validates the torturer.

if you don't believe this myth has eaten a worm hole in the unconscious of otherwise civilized Westerners, you have forgotten about the bulletins on boards at Catholic and Protestant churches alike, offering to take busloads of true believers to watch Mel Gibson's, Passion of the Christ. Millions of viewers put sugar and milk and on the hom-erotic snuff film and called it cream of wheat.

In the Western Christian tradition, the torture and subsequent confession of a heretic, apostate or infidel has always redeemed the victim. In the process, the torturer has participated in his own redemption. Humans who fail to protest against this achieve their own vicarious redemption.

Fred Gregory


No laws have been broken !!

The US Code is a mineield but neither you or any of your left wing sites can point to any section that has been violated by Goss or any other CIA employee.

All of this fixation on who struck John is a waste of time and hopefully will never stink up a courtroom by criminalizing policy differences

Goss did say some things in his concluding paragraphs which are conspicuous for their common sense:

"Our enemies do not subscribe to the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury. "Name, rank and serial number" does not apply to non-state actors but is, regrettably, the only question this administration wants us to ask. Instead of taking risks, our intelligence officers will soon resort to wordsmithing cables to headquarters while opportunities to neutralize brutal radicals are lost.

The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world's superpower. We can sit on our hands or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions. The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence. Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us. "

All of which, whether you like it or not, brings attention to the brash question asked by Gerald Warner:

Why Does President Obama Hate America

"If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people - not even Jimmy Carter."

Now have at it pilgrim.


you or any of your left wing sites can point to any section that has been violated

If you insist.


Sven: now that was torture!


Fred and Spag have convinced me to change my mind. We should measure the legitimacy of our actions by comparison to those they call barbarians and not by US law or international treaty. We need not be the exemplar we once were, that is a quaint pre-9/11 notion. We now need only be less barbaric than the worst. "America: We are not the worst!" Sign me up.


"impermissible torture" -- Spag

Define permissible torture.


"we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence."

Ahhhh, now I see. My mistake was not recognizing that the choice is between torture or bad intelligence.

Related question: Are the plethora of logic fallacies coming from conservatives of late the result from trying to defend indefensible positions or do the indefensible positions result from faulty logic? Anybody?

Fred Gregory

Tay Zonday.. You got me. That is cruel amd inhuman.

Eric Shelman, however, would be considered coddling detainees cause he da man.

Jim Dandy

Whatta ya say Roch ?

So while Goss seems intent on escalating his attempts to implicate Pelosi and Harman in his own complicity with the CIA's torture program, in doing so he admits that CIA broke the law, twice, in its briefing of Congress. It did not brief Congress before it started the torture (and recall, we know the torture had been contemplated since at least April, so they can't claim they didn't have time to inform Congress beforehand). And, the CIA failed to meet the legal requirements on informing Congress by including Congressional leadership as well as intelligence leadership.

This would result in prosecution IF the other party weren't corrupt also, but ....


Funny, I don't know how boxing is related to torture. 18 U.S.C. § 2340 does. No one claims the full Geneva convention protections apply to Al-Qaeda. In that case we can not coerce at all: "Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind." [Article 17] KSM would not have been classified as a POW, but yet there would still be limits on what interrogation methods could be used.

Whether a technique might yield useful information is a necessary but not sufficient condition for whether a technique can be used.

Fred Gregory

Oh, more about that Tim Noah nonsense:

The West Coast Plot " An Inconvenient Truth "

"So the Director of National Intelligence has repeatedly affirmed the accuracy of the statement that the West Coast plot was disrupted because of the CIA program. And Noah himself acknowledges in his post a CIA spokesman affirmed the accuracy of the story.

So bottom line: The intelligence community says it is so.

In his blog, Noah cites the fact that Fran Townsend, the Bush administration’s homeland-security adviser, told reporters in a February 2006 press briefing that a key cell leader in the West Coast plot was arrested February of 2002. This, Noah points out, is before KSM came into CIA custody and underwent enhanced interrogation. He also notes Townsend said that after the cell leader’s capture other cell members “believed” that the plot was not going forward.

I hate to break it to Noah, but this does not refute the fact that KSM’s interrogation disrupted the West Coast plot."


Impermissible torture is torture that violates the law. Just because you can read a statute, doesn't mean your interpretation is the only correct one. Ask the justices who found a right to privacy that permits abortion in the Constitution when no such language appears.

Further, words have meanings and the presumption is that every word in a statute was there for a reason. I.E., "severe" has a meaning as does "prolonged".


Fred, the best part is this:

"General Hayden calls these facts an “inconvenient truth.” He put it this way in his Fox News interview: “Most people who oppose these techniques want to be able to say: I don’t want my country doing this – which is a purely honorable position – and they didn’t work anyway. That back half of the sentence isn’t true. The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work.”

That last part explains the pushback. Entirely predictable. They know they will lose the majority of Americans on this issue (which is mostly phony anyway as none of them seem to want to examine the Democrats complicity in these matters) if it is shown that real plots were prevented by waterboarding or other similar interrogation tactics. They have way too much invested in the theme they have been pushing for several years to let the facts get in the way. It isn't about truth, it's about power and completely discrediting the opposition at all costs.


Ask the justices who found a right to privacy that permits abortion in the Constitution when no such language appears.

Hmm. I propose we cut government spending by abolishing the Congress. Its job is to make new laws. But, as Spag points out, if a law contains language that isn't specifically authorized in the Constitution, it is unconstitutional.

And let's junk the courts, too. We don't need anyone to tell us what words mean. The Constitution is short, and if someone can't understand it they can always ask a Republican.

Meanwhile, let's accept that people who argue that the efficacy of torture trumps the moral cost of engaging in torture, or who make a distinction between legal torture and illegal torture, are already lost to the essence of America. They're worshipping a totem.

For insight into the direction of a political cult that values efficacy over ethics, and believes sin is absolved by the pen of captive attornies, see Berlin, circa 1920's.


How do you respond to that kind of ignorance? If all we had to do was read statutes, we wouldn't need courts to interpret anything.

Fred Gregory


It's what Bill Buckley referred to from time to time as " invincible ignorance ".

In a obit of of his friend Evan Galbraith he said this:

"He wrote and published two books and loved to give advice, oracular in tone, shrewd in conception — underestimated only by those of invincible ignorance who set his advice aside. They included an illustrious if wrongheaded company of presidents and kings and commissars. "


John McCain was on TV yesterday (Face the Nation, I think) explaining why he thought we shouldn't be torturing people and why we shouldn't prosecute people (Americans) who did torture or who authorized torure. It was torturous.


He said that the DoJ lawyers and others just gave "bad advice" and that isn't something you should prosecute. He said we violated the Geneva Conventions and other agreements and shouldn't do that again, but shouldn't prosecute the individuals involved.

And then he said, "By the way...people who say our enemies won't abide by the Geneva Conventions...yes they will, if they know there will be retribution."


"Impermissible torture is torture that violates the law." -- Spag

That isn't an answer to my question. I asked you to define permissible torture and I'm still waiting.


Your question assumes I said there was a permissible form of torture, Roch. I never did. For purposes of the law, "torture" has a definition and it is impermissible in all cases. However, that is not to say that anything that anyone considers "torture" is in fact torture within the meaning of the law. There are things that I consider a form of torture that would not trigger a violation of the law because they don't meet the legal definition and therefore are legally permissible forms of torture in the general but not legal sense of the word. Waterboarding is one example.


The statute seems pretty clear, and the only legal basis one would have is whether waterboarding is torture. Here is the definition:

As used in this chapter—
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

From 2A it would seem to me that you would not even have to inflict pain, but the threatened infliction could be considered torture. Consider mock executions and the type of nightmares those would bring. I would say that waterboarding falls under 2A&C.

This statute seems to explicitly refers to actions taken outside the US: "Whoever outside the United States commits..." I would imagine there are similar statutes for actions taken inside the US.


Re-read what you just wrote, Sam. Notice how you begin by saying you never said there was a permissible form of torture then proceed to defend a permissible form of torture. Convoluted and self-contradictory arguments should be a sign that you have taken an untenable position.

Follow up: You've avoided it the numerous times it has come up previously, but since you quite clearly now say that waterboarding is legally permissible, will you clarify that that opinion is not situational -- that, were a US soldier to be waterboarded by a captor, you would stand by your above stated opinion that such action is a "legally permissible form of torture?"


Logic needs to be applied equally. Because one person thinks waterboarding is not torture does not make it 'not torture' from a legal sense.


Roch, you need to read more carefully (along the lines of winstongators last comment). I never said there was a permissible form of torture as defined by law- which is what the rest of my comment was about. Obviously if you are using the legal definition of torture than there is no permissible form. However, people may believe that others acts are a form of torture but don't fall within the legal definition and thus aren't prohibited.


Sam, you are the one who kept attaching qualifiers to "torture" -- permissible, impermissible. Unfortunately, your justification for doing so speaks for itself. Now, about a US citizen being waterboarded, torture or no?

Fred Gregory

Tough Tactics Keep Us Safe

"Regarding the enhanced interrogation techniques detailed in formerly top secret memos President Obama has released, there are two questions Americans and their government must answer: 1) Are the techniques torture; 2) does reserving the right to use them in extreme circumstances make us safer or more vulnerable?

Our answer to the first question is "no." The rack is torture. Thumb screws are torture. The United States does not and should not torture. But "walling," water boarding, stress positions and the other techniques authorized under President Bush's Office of Legal Counsel are not torture. They are rough. They come close. But they do not produce the physical or psychological damage that crosses the line into torture."


Sam, were a US citizen to be waterboarded while in foreign captivity, permissible torture? Impermissible torture?


Fred, if waterboarding is not torture than #2 does not matter. If waterboarding is torture, then #2 again does not matter. There is only one question to ask.

Whether an interrogation method gives useful information is irrelevant as to whether or not it is torture, or should be legal. If this sheik's use of cattle prods (page 2) generated useful information, would that make it acceptable?

For all the die-hard Jack Bauer fans out there, a popular interrogation method on 24 is the threatening of family members, used this season by an FBI operative with an infant as the object of the threat. People who like to use '24' scenarios and logic should really watch the show and see all the methods used and how we should not move closer to that.


There are now reports that KSM was waterboarded 5 times with a total of 183 "pours".


It's worth reading what this guy has to say about waterboarding.

(Somebody please point me to instructions on how to create a hot link)


"we are all keynesians" ~nixon

"we are all berliners" ~jfk

"we are all torturers" ~cheney

"we are all borrowers" ~obama



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