Torture questions continue to dog the government

Questions surrounding the use of torture by U.S. government personnel in the period following the attacks of September 11, 2001 continue to dog those involved, including the lawyers whose opinions provided the green light for such activities. 

The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has just released a transcript of a lengthy, closed-door interview of Jay Bybee, now a federal judge in Nevada.  The recent interview dealt primarily with actions in which Bybee was involved in 2002, during which time he served as an assistant attorney general heading the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).  This was the office that provided numerous legal memoranda to the CIA supposedly to guide its officers in conducting lawful “interviews” of so-called “high value detainees” overseas. 

The Bybee transcript and his earlier memos are revealing as a primer in the very clever methods whereby CIA officials presented convoluted requests to the Department of Justice, in order to secure opinions that the techniques the Agency intended to use or was in fact using were “lawful.”  With such a legal opinion in hand, lawyers at the CIA could then assure those participating in questionable activities that they would not later run the risk of being prosecuted for violating U.S. anti-torture laws; in effect, a “get out of jail free” card.

The techniques subsequently revealed to have been used by the CIA on suspected terrorists included the now well-known act of “simulated” drowning known as “waterboarding”; but also, slamming prisoners against walls, slapping them in the face repeatedly, hitting and kicking prisoners, prolonged sleep deprivation, and dousing them with cold water. 

The Bybee interview, as well as a review of one 2002 memorandum sent by him to the CIA, illustrate the cat-and–mouse game played by the respective officials in order to get the opinions they want.  The requesting agency (in this case, the CIA) posed very specific “hypothetical” facts to the Justice Department, which were then repeated back to the Agency official; these are then reflected in the resulting memorandum concluding that the actions thus described would not be unlawful.  Left unsaid are innumerable, nuanced details; including the force with which a physical contact can be made, precisely how waterboarding sessions would be conducted (which can make a significant difference in the degree of physical and mental pain inflicted on the recipient), or how many times a particular technique might be employed.

Interestingly, even such a term as “times” when used to describe the number of sessions to which a waterboarded prisoner was subjected, becomes an excruciating lesson in sophistry.  Does it mean that a prisoner who later was determined to have been waterboarded up to 183 “times,” was in fact waterboarded that number of times? Or, might it refer instead to the situation in which, during a single session, water was poured over his covered face 183 “times.”  (Yes, there is an actual discussion along these lines recounted in the Bybee interview.)

In the end, prosecutions of government officials for engaging in unlawful torture may be difficult, if not impossible because of the legal mess created by the so-called “Bybee memos” and other such opinions.  Indeed, Attorney General Eric Holder has stated publicly that CIA officials who engaged in acts as to which OLC opined were lawful will not be prosecuted. 

This distressing scenario raises serious concerns about the role played by lawyers at the Justice Department.  Should their duties include providing legal advice to administration officials justifying questionable actions in advance, and thereby immunizing employees from future prosecution for criminal acts?  Or should it be to do their best to insure that our government officials – all our government officials – obey and operate within the law; and then prosecuting them if they do not?  Sadly, more often than not the former, rather than the latter perspective, appears to be the norm.

66 comments Add your comment

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
7:19 am

The Russians Chinese and North Koreans have documented the fact that torture dose not work in the long run. You might get an answer early in then it becomes anything to make it stop. I think the same people who sat around a table and justified these tactics should face the same torture methods in an effort to find out how far up all these justifications went. We all know this is attached in some way shape or form to our fearless Vice-President Cheney who himself got a deferment out of going to Vietnam due a boil on his butt. So I guy who avoided war when it was his turn pushed this agenda from his elected office and we all know it. No other official spent more time justifying Americas foray into the world of torture. To prosecute the lawyers who gave opinions would be a miscarriage of justice. This movement came from on high and until you take it all the way to Dick Cheney, presently at an undisclosed location, all it is a dog and pony show like we saw happen to Col. Janis Karpinski who was the scape goat of the prison/torture chamber called Abu Grab. Abu Grab happened because our VP and a bunch of lawyers said it was ok to torture. It was a byproduct of the decline of the US as a moral leader not a Colonel who had never even been to the facility before. It will never be made good until the most powerful person in the group has been brought out into the light and all the facts of how all this progressed is documented for all to know.

vracer

July 26th, 2010
8:02 am

Torture their asses. They deserve it.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
8:16 am

“Torture” is being duct-taped to a chair & made to watch Rosie O’Donnell & Joy Behar re-runs for 24 consecutive hours.

The towel-heads got off light. They should thank the CIA.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
8:18 am

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
7:19 am
We all know this is attached in some way shape or form to our fearless Vice-President Cheney who himself got a deferment out of going to Vietnam due a boil on his butt.

I guess you’re glad Jimmy Carter pardoned all you guys that ran to Canada, huh?

Port O'John

July 26th, 2010
8:50 am

As I recall no officer spent any jail time because of what happened at Abu Grahib prison (or whatever it was called) but enlisted personnel sure did. The lawyers and politicians who engineered this have got nothing to worry about, if someone has to go to jail, it will be a low ranking person who was following orders.

That’s the American way.

I guess some people will worry about how this will impact how Americans are seen by the rest of the world, I say don’t worry about that. Everyone knows we are hyprocritcal on these issues. We will only do what is in our “national” interests as that is defined by whichever morons (democrats or republicans) are in power.

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
9:52 am

Why stop at Dick Cheney? George Bush was the CINC. The decision to torture along with any moral or legal consequences rests squarely on his cowardly, inept shoulders.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
10:09 am

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
9:52 am
Why stop at Dick Cheney? George Bush was the CINC. The decision to torture along with any moral or legal consequences rests squarely on his cowardly, inept shoulders.

But you looney lefties are OK with “The One” dispatching the drones on a daily basis to kill alleged terrorists, right? To hell with the collateral damage, right?

You need to make up your minds as to what side of the fence your going to stand on.

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
10:49 am

No More Progressives!

I believe you have missed my point so allow me to clarify.

I am not against war or warfare. I’m against inept and crooked Commanders in Chief that would lie to send our most valued treasure into an unnecessary war; at the expense of mangling the ‘legitimate’ war that was already underway. If George Bush had done his job, President Obama would not be forced to clean up his mess in Afghanistan.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
11:03 am

Your job, if you are in fact a service member, is to obey orders. General McChrystal (sp?) got fired for voicing his politcal commentary in the prosecution of his orders.

If you are a civilian, I agree. I don’t really understand what we’re trying to do in Afghanistan. And if I were CIC, I would be hard pressed to commit soldiers, seamen and Marines into that conflict.

But calling GWB a “coward” is uncalled for. I certainly am no big GWB fan, but movies about his assassination were made, and he’s been out of office almost 2 years now. It’s 2010; we’ve got crucial mid-terms coming up.

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
12:13 pm

Actually, I am separated from the Air Force – no longer an active duty officer. I consider Bush a coward because he lacked the courage to fight when he had the opportunity to go to Vietnam.

I recall reading National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), which are made public for all to see, where the Bush administration was routinely advised from 2004 – 2008 about Al Qaeda and other related terrorist group increases in Afghanistan. Nothing was done to address this rise in threat to our troops and to the stated mission of “kill em over there so they can’t kill us over here”.

My blood also boils when I recall how poorly equipped our uniformed brothers and sisters were when sent over there during those initial years. Not to rehash the past, but if we as citizens fail to take an honest look back and learn from these costly wartime blunders then we’re inclined as a nation to be led down the same path by ineffective so-called leaders in the future.

We are where we are in Afghanistan and I abhor our current predicament in that region of the world. I don’t believe this president’s political character, principle or national security stategy leaves him the option to just cut and run. Anyone who honestly believes it’s that simple is, in my opinion, imperceptive.

Lawrence

July 26th, 2010
12:18 pm

Where is Chris Broe when we need him?

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

No More Progressives . . .. What do you mean by which side of the fence we stand on???? Is that an absolute . .. .”you are with us or against us”? If we were a country based on absolutes . . .then we probably would have stuck with a good old Monarchy . . .instead of the separation of powers government that was established between Executive, Judicial, and Legislative branches . . . .and we’d probably also be a ONE party nation. Democrats, progressives, liberals . . whatever you want to call us . . .can be for a strong America, can even be lead to believe the Iraq War was necessary and support it . . . . .but we DON’T have to agree with Torture techniqes. Especially when some of the techniques were the same we executed Japanese POW’s for after WWII.

neo-Carlinist

July 26th, 2010
12:33 pm

No More Progressives. I agree, it is inappropriate to call W a “coward”. the coward coward suggests “fear” and Bush was always invulnerable (Vietnam service, accountabilty for 9/11, Iraq, etc.). Bush never “feared” service in Vietnam because it was not an “optuion” (same for his “VP uncle” Dan Qualye). when you are born into the Bush dynasty you fear nothing, save disappointing daddy (and grandaddy). Bush is/was many things (incompetent, apathetic, delusional), but he was not a coward.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:34 pm

No More Progressives . . . . . we also know it is the JOB of military personal to NOT follow orders they believe are morally wrong and against the laws of warfare the US signed onto with the Geneva Convention. I don’t care if other countries do not follow the rules of the Geneva Convention . . .if they be countries that signed it or not . . . I do care that we Americans do our best to rise above the fray. But I’ll also tell you a dirty little secret of mine . . . . . . if these techniques were proven to work and be reliable . . ..I might find myself looking the other way if minimally used on the absolute very worst!! You know . . .sort of like that other little dirty secret we Americans want certain Military members to hid . . . .”Don’t Ask, Don’t tell”!! Now if only they could get Cheney to stop crowing about torturing folks!!!

neo-Carlinist

July 26th, 2010
12:39 pm

oh, and for the record, anyone who believe the torture at GITMO or Abu Gahrib, were isolated incidents is foolish. torture hase been around since the Romans crucified political prisoners. It has been part of maritime justice as well. we simply need to come clean about its value in terms of interogations vis a vis punitive matters. for example, I don’t think we should have waterboarded KSM for information, I think we should have rounded up his kids, waterboarded them, videotaped it, and showed him the tapes (then executed him) – perhaps by dousing him with jet fuel and burning him.

joe

July 26th, 2010
12:50 pm

@ JAFV–and if Pres Clinton would have ordered “take the shot” when we had bin laden in our sights in the late 90’s perhaps 9-11 wouldn’t have happened…we can speculate all day dear.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:51 pm

neo-Carlinist . . .any practical minded person would understand torture has been going on for years and still does. However, any “legal-historical” minded person would also know that the Geneva Convention treaties were put in place to protect Prisoners of War and others during Wars. We signed on these treaties including those in 1929 and 1949. So if we want to use the Geneva Convention to lambast other countries . . .then we best follow the rules we agreed to . . at least outwardly!! We Americans always claim to be the best at this and that, the greatest nation. Damn, our President has been raked over the coals for actually saying we aren’t perfect and . . .gulp . . .. .apologizing for things WE DID DO wrong. Well we are no better than the terrorists and rogue countries if we make it officially OK to go against the Geneva Convention regarding torture.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:55 pm

Addendum: Yes, I know that the Bush Admin did not want those folks captured and sent to Gitmo to be termed as Prisoners of War . . . .so they will claim Geneva Convention does not apply. Would we openly torture Serial Killers, Pedophiles, Home Grown Bombers . . . . .. .probably not – openly! Bottom line is, we do our country no favor when we resort to these tactics . . . that most “non-partisan” Interrogation Experts I’ve heard have said are NOT reliable.

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
1:03 pm

Joe @ 12:50

Where was I speculating? Bush was routinely warned of the serious National Security THREAT of terrorist force buildup in Afghanistan during the bulk of his presidency and what did he do??? You my friend are confusing the term speculation with actual wartime fact.

Jeb

July 26th, 2010
1:17 pm

NMP, collateral damage is not the same as torture..you are an idiot.

Will

July 26th, 2010
1:21 pm

Progressive liberals can not lead and do not know how to follow. War is way out of their league. They must delegate that action to others just like FDR. Torture should be the same policy as nuking. You try or nuke we will assure your destuction. Once again I will ask liberals where does the war fighters come from. Do they get beamed in by Scott from a star ship? If not, do they come from the civilian population? If they do, you take care not to treat their sons/daughters different than they would treat your sons/daughters? What if they tortured and killed your son. You must not love your son if you do not want to bring hell into their living room. Progressive liberals should stick to making movies with losts of homosexuals in it. Thats something they understand.

nelsonhoward

July 26th, 2010
1:25 pm

General George Washington at the Batlle of Trenton, had 1000 Hessian soldiers captive. He ordered them to be treated humanely as befitting our Constitution and the rights of the individual. The British were not as kind killing or treating the American soldiers inhumanely.
Sooooo, there you have it this is a civilized country where the rights of the individual are protected by the Consitution. Judge Bybee was operating in direct opposition to the father of our country George Washington. Abe Lincoln had Confederate soldiers treated equally to Union soldiers in the hospitals. There is a right way and a wrong way for the U.S. either humanely and compassionately or otherwise,which is indeed, wrong.

Wiley

July 26th, 2010
1:28 pm

Once “Recent” Reader
Here is one for you! Most interagators are linguists. Most linguists are liberals. Most liberals are socialist. Most socialists are athiests. Most athiests believe in human rights. Most human rights are man made. Man made can be taken away by man.

Torture only those who torture you.

joe

July 26th, 2010
1:30 pm

Sounded to me that you were speculating that our current leader is doing a better job than W did, but perhaps I missed your point. I agree with most of what you said and I agree that we could have and should have had our troops better prepared with better equipment than what they had. I also feel that simply because of the Jihadist mindset, our “torture” should be used to gain any information that may help our cause as our forms are not in the same stratosphere as what their forms are (like cutting heads off with a hand saw).

Unfortunately we didn’t have enough resources to conduct wars in Iraq and Afg concurrently, but now that Iraq is about locked up, devoting our precious resources there is the next logical step. I just hope our current leader let’s Gen Mc do his thing and stays out of his way.

Wiley

July 26th, 2010
1:31 pm

nelsonhoward

July 26th, 2010
1:25 pm
Ohhh Please dont use one day of American history to make such a national statement. We also killed their officers in combat by snipers, a technique thought dastardly by the British and the so called civilized way of war fighting.

Jeb

July 26th, 2010
1:31 pm

Should our troops expect better treatment if captured than we give to the enemy?

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
1:37 pm

Here’s another fun-filled fact:

Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military. These people were discharged because they were gay. I don’t have more current numbers but I’m sure it’s higher today. It’s too bad the military is placing homophobia well ahead of national security.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
1:42 pm

Once “Recent” Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:34 pm
No More Progressives . . . . . we also know it is the JOB of military personal to NOT follow orders they believe are morally wrong and against the laws of warfare the US signed onto with the Geneva Convention.

You don’t have a bloody clue what you’re talking about.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
1:51 pm

Once “Recent” Reader

July 26th, 2010
12:55 pm
Addendum: Yes, I know that the Bush Admin did not want those folks captured and sent to Gitmo to be termed as Prisoners of War . . . .so they will claim Geneva Convention does not apply.

The Geneva Convention, had you bothered to read the key elements, does not apply.

1) We’re not “at war.” Only Congress can declare war.

2) To qualify, you have to be a signatory to the agreement. The Taliban aren’t signatories to anything but terrorism.

3) Non-uniformed combatants (especially those that do not represent a state) do not qualify. These are referred to as “spies.” If you’d read your history, the US executed about 8 German spies in the 40’s, after being put ashore in the US by U-boats.

I’ll bet that gets the limp-wristed lefties in all in a bunch, huh?

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
2:01 pm

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
12:13 pm
Actually, I am separated from the Air Force – no longer an active duty officer. I consider Bush a coward because he lacked the courage to fight when he had the opportunity to go to Vietnam.

If you delve deeply in GWB’s past, you’ll learn that 1) he did not want to go to VN as infantry;

2) He signed up for the Air National Guard and learned to fly F-102 “Delta Daggers.” He never accumulated enough hours (>500) for combat and his tour was up in 1974.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush_military_service_controversy

Make no mistake; I’m not defending his record; but he didn’t run to Canada like others.

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
2:02 pm

@ No More Progressives…Drink more Kool-aid. You’re diatribe is old, overly worked and completely unoriginal. You seem to talk a lot of tough guy talk. Hmm… peace time vet I’m assuming. Or maybe a Vietnam ERA vet. You know, Simper Fi while you stood guard on Guam. Talk is cheap especially from a guy who is a probably a mouse toe to toe. It’s like penis size, he who claims the most has the least. Who you trying to convert? Maybe with such desire to preach at everyone who’ll listen you should go preach to those who think like you. Isn’t that the GOP way. Fall in line do as I do and never ever think anything different than the line of the day. Your a small minded guy. It’s people like you that are ruining this country.

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
2:08 pm

@ No More Progressives GWB got a RELEASED early to go work for an Alabama Senators campaign, it had SQUAT to do with hours in an airplane. Those files were MIA when they went to find them anyway. Strange how everyone else in that squadron had files but not Georgy Boy. . You guys are amazing. Talk as if you’re informed when you’re just spreading crap you heard on the radio.

Lefty

July 26th, 2010
2:10 pm

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
1:51 pm
The Geneva Convention, had you bothered to read the key elements, does not apply.

1) We’re not “at war.” Only Congress can declare war.

2) To qualify, you have to be a signatory to the agreement. The Taliban aren’t signatories to anything but terrorism.

3) Non-uniformed combatants (especially those that do not represent a state) do not qualify. These are referred to as “spies.” If you’d read your history, the US executed about 8 German spies in the 40’s, after being put ashore in the US by U-boats.

Why is it that the right want to try them in military tribunals if they “DO NOT” qualify according to the Geneva Convention.

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
2:11 pm

@ No More Progressives…. Tell any combat troops in the Mid East we aren’t at war. Aren’t at war, another idiot point from an impossibly obtuse fool.

Lefty

July 26th, 2010
2:18 pm

joe

July 26th, 2010
1:30 pm
Do you really believe that touture works? I would tell you anything to make you stop, regardless of truth or not. I have heard of people confessing to murders because they were being tortured at the time. Understand what you are saying because bad intel is far worse than no intel.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
2:32 pm

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
12:13 pm
I recall reading National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), which are made public for all to see, where the Bush administration was routinely advised from 2004 – 2008 about Al Qaeda and other related terrorist group increases in Afghanistan.

First, God Bless You for your service.

I think you have a very cogent argument; I do think, however, that the horse was already out of the barn at this point. We have become a society constantly looking for someone/somewhere to blame. If (big if) what I read about the Clinton adminstration is true (haveing Bin Laden offered up by the Sudanese?) then we can conclude that the “fault” took place several years before GB43.

Should our Military become pre-emptive? I think yes. And without apology.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
2:35 pm

Not Productive

July 26th, 2010
2:11 pm
@ No More Progressives…. Tell any combat troops in the Mid East we aren’t at war. Aren’t at war, another idiot point from an impossibly obtuse fool.

Remeber John Kerry voted for it before he voted against it? It was a Joint Resolution of Congress, Mr. Informed. Yes, there is combat, loss of life, etc. But the fact remains that the United States of America has not declared war.

You’re good at the name-calling. A key sign of avian cerebellum.

neo-Carlinist

July 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

nelsonhoward, yeah, Andersonville was a picnic. oh, and the North Vietnamese always put on a good show when the cameras were running (or Jane Fonda was visiting). which brings me to Once “Recent” Reader. gee, drugs are illegal in the USA, but I can score any type of dope I want anywhere I want in Atlanta. employing undocumented workers is illegal in the USA, and by conservative estimates there are 20 million undocumented workers (and, “workers” is the key word) in the USA. do you really think ANY nation cares about the Geneva Convention? I know two things; torture does not produce “actionable” intelligence, because as others have noted, a person will say anything to stop the pain. and #2, I know this because every nation that ever waged war tortures prisoners. the Germans did it, the North Vietnamese did it, the SOuth Vietnamese did it (or sometimes the allowed the South Koreans ot Ngumg mercenaries have the honors). The old Soviet Union and East Germany did it all the time (often to their own citizens) during the Cold War. you can call “foul” all you want, but the 800 lbs gorilla ain’t leaving this party (war) anytime soon.

Gerald West

July 26th, 2010
3:07 pm

Torture is used to persuade a person to tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know. The yo-yo’s in the Bush administration had it all wrong. They should first have pampered, bribed, and cozied up to a detainee to get him to tell what he knows. Then they should torture him to obtain a sham confession for use in a sham trial.

What a bunch of idiots!

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
3:08 pm

neo-Carlinist

July 26th, 2010
2:51 pm
You raise a good point.

In Viet Nam, we had the help of ROK’s (Republic of Korea). When ROK’s were in a hostile area, the NVA and VC withdrew, because they knew ROK’s did not take prisoners. Ever.

Just Another Female Veteran

July 26th, 2010
3:11 pm

NMP @ 2:32

I believe it a fact that there was not enough evidence for the US to detain Bin Laden AT THAT TIME. This makes the whole Clinton/Bin Laden ’speculation’ mute. Here’s what I believe of that scenario:

Much of the controversy stems from claims that Clinton made in a February 2002 speech and then retracted in his 2004 testimony to the 9/11 Commission. In the 2002 speech Clinton seems to admit that the Sudanese government offered to turn over bin Laden:

Clinton: So we tried to be quite aggressive with them [al Qaeda]. We got – well, Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan. And we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America. So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, ’cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn’t and that’s how he wound up in Afghanistan.

Clinton later claimed to have misspoken and stated that there had never been an offer to turn over bin Laden. It is clear, however, that Berger, at least, did consider the possibility of bringing bin Laden to the U.S., but, as he told The Washington Post in 2001, “The FBI did not believe we had enough evidence to indict bin Laden at that time, and therefore opposed bringing him to the United States.” According to NewsMax.com, Berger later emphasized in an interview with WABC Radio that, while administration officials had discussed whether or not they had ample evidence to indict bin Laden, that decision “was not pursuant to an offer by the Sudanese.”

So there you go…

DawgDad

July 26th, 2010
3:15 pm

We need to be VERY cautious about going overboard on these internal affairs inquisitions. People on our side are NOT the enemy, and they need leeway to use their judgment in protecting us and our troops. I have no problem with reviews to see if lines were abusively crossed as long as those lines aren’t drawn for political advantage (now, ask yourself how likely that would be).

Trusting politicians, lawyers, and bureaucrats to provide objective oversight and review is like trusing a deadly snake not to bite you – both better be very well fed and you STILL ultimately can’t trust them. Given that imbalance, this is a pure waste of time for political show.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
3:21 pm

Please…Dear God……..you seem like an intellignet woman. You don’t believe Slick Willie’s second statement, do you? He’s a lawyer, for heavens sake. He’s an impeached, disgraced, disbarred, disgusting cretin of a man who is a good politician. He wants to sue Bin Laden, not effect justice. There’s no difference (to me) in being pro-active militarily and programming a cruise missile to land in OBL’s tent.

Get Real

July 26th, 2010
3:30 pm

Oh gosh darn, if Bush hadn’t gotten us in this mess Obozo wouldn’t have to clean it up. Name one thing Obozo has done since he has played President to clean up anything? He’s had Beerfest in the Rose Garden, he’s had date night with the Grinch, he wore loafers in the sand on the beach to look at tar balls (not too bright), his bunch of cronies have fired the Agriculture woman without really doing an investigation,
un-employment is way over 10 1/2 percent (I would like to see the real numbers) and that’s just to name a few.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
3:37 pm

King Barry and his Merry Court of Henchmen couldn’t clean up horse manure with instructions.

Get Real

July 26th, 2010
3:39 pm

I really don’t give a Rat’s a$$ how many towelheads are tortured and how they are tortured to get information! I remember well 911 and I remember all those towelheads making videos as as they sawed or severed American’s heads off as they gurgled in blood as they died! Sympathy and pity for them…Hell NO! I say let the Marines arrange a meeting with God for them! Maybe they can get their 27 virgins and may they all be goats!

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
3:46 pm

No Progressives . . . . .. When we decide to lower our own values because another country/people does not live up to the same values . . . we lose the moral ground. The Geneva Convention and subsequent treaties did apply to wars and if we don’t want to term those folks as prisoners of war fine. However, when we begin creating new subsections of categories simply to fit a purpose to remove any common civil liberties that our country was built on . . . .then we do not deserve to go against those who create the same crimes . . .be they much worse. IE: N. Korea, Serbians/Bosnians, Rwanda patricide criminals . ..etc. It’s just like Spencer Tracy tells Burt Lancaster (Judge on trial for Nazi Crimes) in Judgement at Nuremberg, . . . it’s not the many lives you saved, it’s the one time you decided to usurp the law and send an innocent person to their death that makes you a criminal and allows more crimes. (That is the gist of what Spencer Tracy said . ..not verbatim!)

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
3:49 pm

Wow Wiley . . . .strange logical progression from Interrogator to Atheist, but I’ll play your game. I assume you mean an eye for an eye when you say torture those who torture you. Well I teach my 8 year old daughter another religious idiom . . . . . . .Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I tell her everyday treat her friends like she would want them to treat her. That is much less vindictive and less angry than that eye for an eye . . .and I wonder what religious person came up with that one many years ago. Probably some warrior.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
4:16 pm

Once “Recent” Reader

July 26th, 2010
3:46 pm
No Progressives . . . . .. When we decide to lower our own values…….

Who is we?

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
4:17 pm

How many lives does “higher moral ground” save?

A CONSERVATIVE

July 26th, 2010
4:23 pm

I HAVE NO PROBLEM whatsoever…with beating the hell out of a suspected terrorist for info…Fight the war the way General Sherman fought the battle of Georgia…Match to the Gulf & kill every one in sight…not in a Union uniform….Johnnie Reb…..& his whole family..,KILL them all & go home..

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
4:32 pm

Get Real . . . .. .This is not about liking or not liking who we are torturing . . . .it is about the overall and future ramifications of a US Administration openly supporting and backing torture. We lose the moral high ground . . .which damages our image . . .which lessens the chance of getting international support. Now if you want us to be Cowboys and go it alone . . .fine. But in the end that just hurts us more. And tell me one study that has indicated you get more from torturing than not torturing!! Of course you may just like torturing people that are deemed to be our enemy.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
4:36 pm

No more Progressives . . . We is the USA. You may believe you are hardcore USA, more so than liberals, democrats, progressives . . . .etc. I don’t make that claim, I am just one citizen of the USA. Sort of like We the People . . in order to stand a more perfect union . … No matter what our differences of opinion . . .if you are a US Citizen then WE both have that much in common.

neo-Carlinist

July 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

NMP, thanks for confirming the info I have picked up over the years. as I see it, employing ROK Rangers to do some ad hoc interrogations is no different than sending a suspect to Jordan, or Egypt, or Pakistan for “questioning”. at some point you just have to say, “what the heck, let’s just do this all at GITMO because if/when we get caught, it isn’t really gonna matter, and we’ll save a few bucks (last sentence was a joke). as far as Obama being a “King” I think he’s more of a Court Jester (as were Bush and Clinton). the POTUS is neither King (corporate owners), nor henchman (lobbyists). nope, our Chief Executive is a mere entertainer, who needs to keep the King “entertained” or it’s one and done.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

No more Progressives . . . . you ask how many lives does the Higher Moral Ground save. I don’t know the answer to that. I have read Sun Tzu and also other military/political theorists who strongly believe in his Art of War tenet that the great General retains the moral high ground. For immediate purposes . . . .torture may save lives . . .if it was mine . .I’d be eternally grateful. However, the long term ramifications of lessening one’s moral beliefs for expediency (potential) can be much more damaging.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
5:01 pm

No More Progressives . . .you indicated I did not know what I was talking about when I said it is the duty of US Soldiers to disobey illegal or immoral rules. This was the result of the German Soldiers/SS et al claiming the were just following orders at WWII trials. This lead to many countries clarifying a soldier’s duty. This is something I just found on-line . . .but there are many more:

“At the luncheon of the National Press Club on Feb. 17, 2006, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, was asked by his interviewer, John Donnelly: “Should people in the U.S. military disobey orders that they believe are illegal?” Pace’s response:

“It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”

You indicated I “don’t have a bloody clue what I’m talking about”. . . . . .which suprised me quite a bit. Although I don’t agree with most of your opinions . . . yes opinions! I did think you were rationally arguing your point. I’m suprised you believe that US Soldiers must follow all orders . .. be they Illegal and Immoral. That is NOT true . . . although we all know what some think as immoral . . others might think as just fine.

No More Progressives!

July 26th, 2010
5:41 pm

“It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.”

The United States Mililtary is not a platform for you to display your version anything political. The guy next to you is depending on you to do your job, lest you both get killed. If you think anything else, you have no business being a Boy Scout, much less in charge of anything military.

When you signed up (remember, we’re 100% voluntary) you took an oath. Liberals don’t believe in oaths. They believe in “living, breathing” documents (Al Gore’s personal Constitution) that change whenever & where ever they want.

Like Jack Nicholson said, “I don’t think you can handle it.”

Off to Starbucks with you; wear a clean Che Guevera tee-shirt, and you & your buddies can compare your new ear-rings.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
11:24 pm

No More Progressives . . ..do you think I’m making up that it is the duty of an American soldier to disobey an illegal or even immoral law. No doubt, the immoral part is probably a bit more tricky to determine . . but this is, and has been the credo, and even more so since WWII. Please do me a favor and ask any military person you know or look it up more thoroughly. This was firmly implanted in many Western Countries military code after WWII. SS Totenkampf troops that went in and slaughtered civilians on the Eastern Front all claimed they were only following orders. So did the SS upper echelon too . . . .blaming Himmler and Hitler. To ensure such a Legal Defense could not be applied in the future the code of US Soldiers having a duty to NOT obey orders that are Illegal or Immoral come into play. If you were a soldier and your Commander told you to go beat the heck out of a captured and subdued civilian they thought might be a terrorist . . ..if you obey, you as well as the Commander would be guilty. Please go and ask any soldiers you know about this specific “duty”. Did you not believe the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff’s quote (Gen Peter Pace) from 2006???? This was under the Bush Admin. You seem to think this would cause anarchy in the Military. Well it has not been a problem up to this point, as our Officers and Soldiers have been trained extremely well to do the right thing. If a soldier is giving the order to torture somebody and they did not follow it . . . . I doubt very much the officer would take it any farther!!!

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
11:32 pm

No More Progressives . . . .I continued to read your message a little more clearly. It used to really bother me when posters believe they know a person well because they have a different opinion on a topic. I also noticed on political blogs that it is much more likely those on the far Right are much more prone to drop to generic and general name calling. Everyone who disagrees with them is a Pinko, Socialist, Commie, Uber Liberal, . . .or as you indicate “Che Guevara tee shirt, ear ring wearing, Starbuck drinking buddies. Well, I used to see Che Guevara t-shirts all the time, didn’t know who he was for a long time, and still don’t really know his story. Never had an ear-ring, no tatoos, like Dunkin Donuts, voted for Reagan and Bush (the 1st), just as likely to vote for bills on ballots that the Republicans like as I am for those supported by Democrats, would prefer a Govt surplus over a deficit. Those who can no longer debate resort to name calling! It’s even worse when they get the name-calling wrong.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
11:34 pm

No More Progressives . . .what I always wondered is if Conservatives really hate Progressives . . . .would they prefere “Regressives”? Just a thought . . ..

Once "Recent" Reader

July 26th, 2010
11:53 pm

One more thing No More Progressives (you are quite fun . . .and easy to debate with) . . . .That quote “It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral.” was not my quote, not my words. Did you not even read the post??

That was the Quote of the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, General Peter Pace in 2006 . . . when GW Bush was President. So either you are trying to twist words, which is not a totally uncommon activity of the far right, or you simply do not read and decide to shoot first. That would equate to not illegal, but potentially “immoral” posting:)

No More Progressives!

July 27th, 2010
8:16 am

So, who is Peter Pace and why was he fired?

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×1071746

Seems that your unimpeachable source was fired……..perhaps for “not following orders.”

Jack

July 27th, 2010
3:32 pm

I reckon Barr would give an icecream cone to a terrorist he was questioning.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 27th, 2010
4:23 pm

Jeesh No More Progressive . … .that was just one quote I found. I picked that one as he was the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff during Bush’s tenor. I did not read your article yet, but definitely will. I did not pick him because I believed he was Liberal/Conservative .. ..and only saw the transcript of the question/answer session. Note: The military should not be partisan, and what was stated about it being the “duty of every officer/soldier to disobey an Illegal or Immoral Order has long been in place, and again . . I’m suprised you didn’t know this. Did you actually research further into this or ask anyone who was/is in the military????? I’m sure they will tell you this is what they are trained to do, and it is part of their code of hornor.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 27th, 2010
4:29 pm

No More Progressives . . .I just read the article that you hyper-linked and some of the bloggers postings underneath. I don’t get what you are saying about him . . . .and what does it have to do with his absolutely correct Military Quote that “It is the duty of a soldier to disobey an illegal or immoral order”. If I read correctly looks like the Dems had him removed and that he was “Rumsfeld’s Parrot”. Again please tell me what you have against this guy and why that would make his statement about illegal/immoral orders inaccurate???? My post had a direct quote confirming my earlier post that you seemed to be calling me an idiot for writing. Yours link doesn’t discount this statement. I’ll go and try and find more for you if you need further validation.

Once "Recent" Reader

July 27th, 2010
4:48 pm

No More Progressive . . . .Just been reading Articles 89 – 92. References clearly made about following “Lawful Orders”. Moral orders does is not specifically mentioned. Lots of quotes found from soldiers indicating in basic training that they are taught to not follow illegal or immoral orders. As I said yesterday . . . .immoral definitely would be the gray area of the two . . .as different soldiers could have different morality scales. However, I also mentioned that the USA does a great job training officers and we do have a tough Rules of Engagement Code . .. .so there probably are only rare cases where that would come into play – as we have great officers.