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Some Real History Of Wartime Interrogation

It's almost baffling that the Left is so loudly and repeatedly invoking the opinion of a radio DJ in this national discussion of EIT and waterboarding. I say almost because there's still the possibility that the common sense used by Vice President Cheney this week will continue to form the framework of the debate. But over at Memeorandum, which is a somewhat useful gauge of the daily zeitgeist, the fever swamp is afire with self righteous indignation because a radio personailty has declared waterboarding torure.

The "torture" debate has worked its way into all levels of our national discourse. My 6th grade son asked me about it last week (lunch room chatter is the elementary school form of what we used to call water cooler talk) and, drawing on the example I learned from my parents, I suggested he try to get a true historical perspective of the issue to inform his inchoate opinions on the matter. So we went to the local bookstore the other day and, along with some books on D Day (which is his new non fiction interest), he also picked, after some hesitation on my part, a copy of Flyboys and Ghost Soldiers.

While neither book is a treatise on the subject of torture they both address the subject in real and historically honest terms that, frankly, make the OLC memos (selectively redacted and released by President Obama) appear benignly clinical and abstract. They are, however, real histories that address real torture, the many victims of which never had a radio microphone to return to when the experience was over.

On this Memorial Day weekend it is my hope that all Americans take a moment to actually remember what our country has experienced and accomplished to preserve not only our freedom but that of many others around this world.


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Comments (53)

Reading the ManCow link I s... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Reading the ManCow link I see he lasted 7 seconds while the average lasts 14 seconds. ManCow then declares it "absolutely torture". Anyone who accepts ManCow's claim must also accept that the U.S. tortures it's own elite troops. If knowing you can quite anytime you want means it's not torture then ManCow and all the other volunteers who have declared waterboading torture are wrong as they knew they could quite anytime they wanted.

I've heard it said that releasing the information that the U.S. used waterboarding made the technique ineffective because people could be trained to resist it. I would like to see someone who's been so trained come forward and demonstrate that claim.

Torture is a mater of degree. ManCow thinks 7 seconds of waterboarding is torture, but if 14 seconds is the average then most would think 7 seconds is not yet torture. To declare something "absolutely torture" that person needs a reference.

One of Saddams torture techniques was to suspend a person by their arms from the ceiling and hook wires up to their private parts and then turn on the electricity. ManCow should volunteer for that to give him a reference to judge waterboarding by.

The skilled torturers are t... (Below threshold)
syn:

The skilled torturers are those working inside American S & M clubs; I have always suggested sending the enemy to those that are experience in torture, plus they have all the accouterments necessary to get the job done ie whips, chains, leather masks, chairs to tie people to, stuff to hang people from ceilings, cages, battery cables to connect male balls etc, etc, etc.

The Obama administration can then charge tickets to sexually-arouse Liberals and Libertarians who need sado-masochistic stimulation to arouse their empty lives.

I meant to add, President O... (Below threshold)
syn:

I meant to add, President Obama could appoint a Dominatrix Czar to oversee the sessions and determine who gets the beating and who get the hanging; the battery cables are special reserve for the really hard nuts to crack.

Oh yeah...imagine the tremendous photo-opportunity to be one the cover of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.

Maybe Bill Maher could do a guest appearance wearing only his dog collar.

If you want to read about w... (Below threshold)
Stan25:

If you want to read about what real torture was, read the archives from the Gestapo. This organization were masters at the art. They put the medieval ones to shame. They are the ones that came up with the idea of using electroshock to make their victims talk. Of course, they did use the rack and the other ancient devices, but they refined the methods and equipment to be more efficient.

The left is all upset that someone dare torture people, but their icons in the Communist world, tortured every prisoner to find out things. Does the killing fields or the mass extermination of people in the Soviet Union ring a bell? That is fine with them as their heroes did it. So my question is what makes them holier than thou when it comes to using torture?

This argument about... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


This argument about what constitutes torture during interrogation is becoming laughable. It's becoming akin to the argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Perhaps it's time to step back and assess the events after 9-11 to the present, then ask if the practices followed were, in fact , debatable.

Consider 7 years with no further attacks against the furor, then spin that.

The arguments are really si... (Below threshold)
MPR:

The arguments are really silly when there is nothing at stake. Such as getting water boarded just to see what it's like. Go stick your head under a faucet with your head upside down and with your mouth and nose open and? You get the picture. Put an "innocent" person in a cage 6'x 9' with a toilet sink combo and let him out to exercise one hour a day would be torture. And yet we have thousands of people(citizens, yeah right) in prisons(cages) around the country because they committed violent crimes and are guilty. What is at stake there is that they would continue to prey on society if we allowed them to be free. So we must "torture" them to protect the rest of us.
And the lie the liberals scream constantly about Japanese being tried for water boarding prisoners during WWII is ridiculous. Water "torture" was just part of a long list of crimes these people did including, but not limited to,(I like saying that),be-headings multiple amputations, hangings etc. And the "water(torture) boarding was ramming hoses down the throats of their POWs and filling the stomach and lungs with water then if that wasn't bad enough. They would beat the prisoners until they drowned or burst. These were POWs held for a long time and had no useful information what-so-ever to give up. This was cruel inhuman torture no question and was rightly punished.
So now, for all the 20/20 hind sighting BS. What if there had bean another attack here right after 9/11? And, we had found out that the terrorists we held, had knowledge prior to the attacks? And as they are dining on lemon chicken with saffron rice thousands of Americans died? We would not be having this conversation.

If someone willingly volunt... (Below threshold)

If someone willingly volunteers to have it done to them just to see what it feels like, it's not torture. Period.

So which one of you "tough ... (Below threshold)
GoneGalt:

So which one of you "tough guys" is stepping up next?

Pretty much anything can be... (Below threshold)
cirby:

Pretty much anything can be "torture" if you're against it. Sure, if you set your definition of "torture" to be "something really unpleasant that doesn't actually harm you but that you want stopped," then you can easily justify referring to waterboarding as torture.

However, under that same definition, ANYTHING can be torture. Making someone sleep on a concrete floor? Torture. Not letting them have more than one or two hours of sleep in a row? Torture. Playing the Macarena incessantly while they're awake? Torture.

I think the use of waterboarding is certainly abuse. Torture? Not so much. There's no permanent harm, no real risk of even temporary injury, just a high level of discomfort that people aren't used to.

On the other hand, the tendency of some folks to refer to anything our side does as morally equivalent to everything the other side does is pretty repugnant. For many, our use of waterboarding on TWO guys (yes, only two, and they're very very bad men by any standard) is morally equivalent to the WWII Japanese habit of torturing our soldiers to death. The Japanese version of "waterboarding" consisted of pouring water into their mouths by the gallon with a funnel (until their bellies distended), then jumping up and down on their stomachs, often killing them.

The US gives its elite troo... (Below threshold)
a giant slor:

The US gives its elite troops a taste of torture, yes. But they know it's just a taste, and no more. They aren't waterboarded over and over, for as much as 40 seconds each time, not knowing if this will be time their torturer lets them drown. The soldiers in SERE do not experience the full extent of waterboard torture.

It's the difference between sustained electrical shocks to the genitals and one quick jolt.

a giant slor - "The US ... (Below threshold)
marc:

a giant slor - "The US gives its elite troops a taste of torture, yes. But they know it's just a taste, and no more. They aren't waterboarded over and over, for as much as 40 seconds each time,

You do have a reliable ref for your 40 second claim right?

a giant slor - "The soldiers in SERE do not experience the full extent of waterboard torture.

And neither did the three, I repeat THREE jihadist-cut-throats that were waterboarded.

My 6th grade son a... (Below threshold)
Tina S:
My 6th grade son asked me about it last week (lunch room chatter is the elementary school form of what we used to call water cooler talk)

It's sad that our children are aware of the "advanced interrogation" techniques carried out by our government. As a child, I grew up with the sense that these were the methods our enemies used, and that the U.S. was better than them.

Tina S - "As a child, I... (Below threshold)
marc:

Tina S - "As a child, I grew up with the sense that these were the methods our enemies used, and that the U.S. was better than them."

If you we're not, well... enjoy your kool-aide

One of Saddams tor... (Below threshold)
Tina S:
One of Saddams torture techniques was to suspend a person by their arms from the ceiling and hook wires up to their private parts and then turn on the electricity.

Mac Lorry,

Do you realize that what you just described as torture would not have been considered torture by the Bush administration?

Mac Lorry,Accordin... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Mac Lorry,

According to Cirbys definition of torture 9 , applying electricity to someones genitals does not amount to torture.

I think the use of waterboarding is certainly abuse. Torture? Not so much. There's no permanent harm, no real risk of even temporary injury, just a high level of discomfort that people aren't used to.
Tina S.No really g... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Tina S.

No really going to cry about what we did to save American Lives.
The three men we used the techniques on were vicious dogs who had in their possession knowledge that was clear and present danger to the security of the United States. There intended targets were men, women and children who could not defend themselves.

The US used this on three people, we made sure they were taken care of.
We were not dealing with guilt or innocence and turning the screws to get them to confess to past crimes. We were not trying punish them, We were obtaining information on future attacks using methods that we have used on our own service men in a more controlled environment to save lives.

These were men who like to chop off the heads of the enemy. Men who put nails and other projectiles in bombs to cost the most death. Men who like to attack soft targets.
Men who wrote or were trained on how to use the American Justice system to the advantage of Jihadist. Men who were not protected under any rules of war and should have been shot dead.

I am proud to be an American.

So Tina S. what would you do to prevent the deaths of 3-6K AMericans, from someone who is well schooled in the American Justice systems and wants nothing more than to delay?
Would you think outside the box since he was not on American soil and not covered by the rules of war? Or would you feel good as your fellow Americans died because you failed to step up to the plate.

Thank GOD we had men who stepped up in our our of need.

hcddbz,What if aft... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

hcddbz,

What if after waterboarding they still do not tell us what we want. Would you agree, as a last resort, it is OK to step it up a notch and apply electricity to their genitals? After all, these were men who like to chop off the heads of the enemy. Men who put nails and other projectiles in bombs to cost the most death. Men who like to attack soft targets. Men who wrote or were trained on how to use the American Justice system to the advantage of Jihadist. Men who were not protected under any rules of war and should have been shot dead.

Tina S,The argumen... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Tina S,

The argument you present is false on it face. The Administration took methods used in SERE and modified them for the purpose of extracting information in a controlled environment which would not endanger the prisoners health.

They set standards and lines they would not cross. They thought the scenarios through. You see that the part you folks do not get. We have exercised restraint and decided we would not doing anything worse to these POS than we do in the training of our own troops.

Even then the number of people was limited to a handful and all of those are still alive and healthy.

KSM boasted how he treated his prisoner with kindness and respect.
Maybe you heard of him his name was Daniel Pearl.

I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl, in the City of Karachi, Pakistan.[
Pearl's body was found cut into ten pieces and buried in a shallow grave...

The Base just wants you dead. They do not have any restraint.

[T]he ruling to kill the Americans and their allies - civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,' and 'fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah
Tina S"What if after... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Tina S
"What if after waterboarding they still do not tell us what we want. Would you agree, as a last resort, it is OK to step it up a notch and apply electricity to their genitals? After all, these were men who like to chop off the heads of the enemy. Men who put nails and other projectiles in bombs to cost the most death. Men who like to attack soft targets. Men who wrote or were trained on how to use the American Justice system to the advantage of Jihadist. Men who were not protected under any rules of war and should have been shot dead.

"

Maybe you should ask some dems like Chuck Schumer.

Oh wait. We already know the answer to that one.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/15/theres-a-few-ants-in-the
-ladys-pants/
Here's Chuck Schumer, the highly partisan senator from New York, talking
about "torture" at a Senate hearing: "I'd like to interject a note of
balance here ... I think there are probably very few people in this room
or in America who would say that torture should never be used,
particularly if thousands of lives are at stake. Take the hypothetical:
If we knew there was a nuclear bomb hidden in an American city and we
believed that some kind of torture, fairly severe maybe, would give us a
chance of finding that bomb before it went off, my guess is that most Americans and most senators, maybe all, would say: 'Do what you have to do.' "
But that was in 2004, before common sense in the party of FDR, Harry
Truman and John F. Kennedy suffered grievous wounds.


------

So tell us Tina. How do you feel about Chuck Schumer now?

Tina S"It's sad th... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Tina S

"It's sad that our children are aware of the "advanced interrogation" techniques carried out by our government. As a child, I grew up with the sense that these were the methods our enemies used, and that the U.S. was better than them."

BUt I guess it isnt sad that we had to explain to our 8 year olds what Oral sex is and why the President was talking about it.

BUt I guess it isnt sad tha... (Below threshold)
jmc:

BUt I guess it isnt sad that we had to explain to our 8 year olds what Oral sex is and why the President was talking about it.

You are such a fucking moron. this is a logical fallacy called tuquoque. Not that you have any fucking idea what that means. nor do you care. Things like Logic reason and facts are optional in your world. As they are in the world of all morons.

And you know what? I'd much rather my country speak openly about sex than emulate the practices of third world dicatator. Tell 8 year olds if they want to understand how things like mcarthyism happen, they should just hang out with you for a while.

"Maybe you should ask some ... (Below threshold)
jmc:

"Maybe you should ask some dems like Chuck Schumer."

She didn't ask what Chuck Schumer would do; She asked what you think. The distinction is rather simple really. Pretend you are yourself and not Chuck Schumer and answer the question. Good Lord.

It's sad that our childr... (Below threshold)
Jake:

It's sad that our children are aware of the "advanced interrogation" techniques carried out by our government. As a child, I grew up with the sense that these were the methods our enemies used, and that the U.S. was better than them.

Absolutely spot on, Tina S. Wonderfully (and sadly) said.

@hcddbz said: "No really g... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@hcddbz said: "No really going to cry about what we did to save American Lives.

Which ones? Civilians? What about soldiers? As numerous military members have clearly stated, our torture policies are a recruiting tool for insurgents. Do you not care about saving the lives of military men and women?

@hcddbz said: "The three men we used the techniques on were vicious dogs who had in their possession knowledge that was clear and present danger to the security of the United States."

First off, do you have proof that it was only three people... how can you possibly be certain that three is the total count? We know nearly nothing about what happened (continues to happen??) at the CIA black sites.

Secondly, the only proof you're going off of when you say with such certainty that they had information that was sorely needed was accounts from people like Dick Cheney. People who have a vested interested in supporting such claims. I'm not saying they're wrong or right, I'm saying if someone, anyone is looking down the barrel at potential war crime prosecution and starts saying that their actions were totally kosher, I'm going to look twice before I simply take them at their word. Democrat, Republican, American, non-American, ANYONE in such a position deserves a healthy level of skepticism.

@retired military said: "BU... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@retired military said: "BUt I guess it isnt sad that we had to explain to our 8 year olds what Oral sex is and why the President was talking about it."

Wow.

Just wow.

Did you really just compare torture and oral sex? Dude, someone's not doing it right in your world.

Secondly do you have proo... (Below threshold)

Secondly do you have proof that it wasn't
only three people...how can you possibly be
certain that is three isn't the total count?
We know nearly nothing about what happened
(continues to happen??) at the CIA
black sites.

Have a bit of your marxist whirled peas with
your Memorial holiday. Thank the dead who
sacrificed their lives so that you might
live freely and safely.

jmc, You're a real... (Below threshold)

jmc,

You're a real piece of work. First you foul
the thread with your four lettered words,
turn around and spew out Good Lord because
all of a sudden you don't have feet of clay,
and are so righteous.
You remember this the next time your opposition
stumbles upon feet of clay.

Which ones? Civili... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
Which ones? Civilians? What about soldiers?

Certainly not your squirrely a*s, huh Jake? Great question for the holiday weekend. I would like to add that there are way more unsung heroes who have sacrificed their lives in an effort to fight the hidden force that is trying to rob us of our freedoms every day. If not for them, the U.S. probably would have been gutted long ago. And, of course, they belong to the courageous military.

this is a logical fallacy called tuquoque.

You just had to come by and teach class, jmc? It is sad that we are teaching young children about oral sex, or their lives are becoming less protected so they learn it the hard way. But you are too lazy to tell everyone what it is, so you just focus on insults.
From wiki:
"Tu quoque (IPA: /tu ˈkwoʊkwɛ/, Latin for "You, too" or "You, also") is a Latin term that describes a kind of logical fallacy. A tu quoque argument attempts to discredit the opponent's position by asserting his failure to act consistently in accordance with that position; it attempts to show that a criticism or objection applies equally to the person making it. It is considered an ad hominem argument, since it focuses on the party itself, rather than its positions."

Incidentally, "two wrongs make a right" is not a legitimate use of the argument, and regarded as an ad hominem. I have seen that a lot.

But for the heck of it, here is an example of
Ad Hominem Tu Quoque
Bill: "Smoking is very unhealthy and leads to all sorts of problems. So take my advice and never start."
Jill: "Well, I certainly don't want to get cancer."
Bill: "I'm going to get a smoke. Want to join me Dave?"
Jill: "Well, I guess smoking can't be that bad. After all, Bill smokes."
Funny how I didn't actually learn that from you, jmc. Nothing worse than a teacher that's too lazy to educate.

I would like to thank all the men and women who risked and sacrificed their lives, and for their service.

Correction: *But you are t... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Correction: *But you are too lazy to tell everyone what Tu Quoque is, so you just focus on insults.

So water-boarding is suffic... (Below threshold)

So water-boarding is sufficient to overcome the will of a radio DJ. We're supposed to be surprised by this?

Yes, it's extremely unpleasant, so much so that the threat of its further application can induce cooperation even from hardened, committed terrorists who have been able to resist successfully a variety of lesser measures. When skillfully administered, it is nonlethal, however, and leaves no permanent physical injury; its effectiveness is disproportionate to the harm it actually causes because it takes advantage of deeply ingrained brain-stem-level reactions (said brain stem being entirely unpersuaded that it's nonlethal and will leave no permanent physical injury). Exploiting such disproportionalities is itself an ethical act as compared to the alternatives.

Which ones? Civili... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
Which ones? Civilians? What about soldiers? As numerous military members have clearly stated, our torture policies are a recruiting tool for insurgents. Do you not care about saving the lives of military men and women?


I served and i care very much about saving Airmen, Marines Soldier, Sailors, and Guardsmen's lives. We have the skills to protect ourselves. I can assure you if the questions was asked if EIT would prevent attack on Civilian population centers or we would allow the deaths of thousands of American lives I can tell the answer of the majority of service people.

First and foremost you need to understand that Enemy used lies to recruit it members hey and the press had done fine job of enabling them. How many people died because of the Fake Flushing of the Koran? How many Recruits believe the Jews are Evil? So it does really matter what we do they will still recruit people.

What was the reason for The Base attack on America? It was because Saudi Arabia rejected OBL offer to use his fighters. Instead Saudi Arabia accepted the USA offer for help. He wanted American dead because of boots defiled holy ground. He then rejoiced after American Soldiers were dragged through the streets of Somalia and told his followers fight the Imperial dogs because they are week and once you shed a little blood they will back down. He also assured his followers that the American are so week that there legal system will protect them.

So these morons were shocked when we did fight back, put them in military tribunals and used EIT on there top brass. They were not expecting it and were not able to resist.

Also the enemy never used truth to recruit it members, it has to fill people with hate and disdain for America. They were able to recruit members during Clintons Halcyon days and attack American Embassies. They were able recruit members to attack Spain an enlighten country that dose not use Enhanced Integration.
They were able to recruit Muslims living in England who were going to good schools and had good lives to attack England. Hell the base has recruited people to attack other Muslims in their places of worship and where they shop and goto school.

You cannot link all of these attacks to EIT. It is linked to a debased mindset in their religion that goes back hundred of years and will use any excuse to kill

Let look at the country that the based operated in for many years.
Their was such equal rights there.
Gay men were treated with love and respect(they just burtilized and killed them)
Women were provided the best schools and health care( They would beat any women trying to learn and shoot them in sports stadiums)
Women who were raped were treated with kindness. (whipping and killed )

Yes these folks really take Human rights seriously and are so offend by water-boarding.

Tina S and Jake what methods would you use to get information to save American lives?

It's sad that our ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:
It's sad that our children are aware of the "advanced interrogation" techniques carried out by our government. As a child, I grew up with the sense that these were the methods our enemies used, and that the U.S. was better than them.

Tina, I am going to echo another commenter, and suggest that you were either not paying attention or live in la la land.

Who have our "enemies" been when you were a child? Hopping into the way back machine
Al Quada: Ask Nick Berg how they treat prisoners.
Milosevic and his merry band over in the Fed Repub of Yugoslavia: Torture... they used it on dissidents among their own citizens. They used tricks they learned from the KGB, among others.
Saddam Hussein: Hmmm. In addition to the usual tricks of the trade like pulling nails, electrodes to the genitals and breaking joints, he favored making people watch their loved ones get raped or be fed into wood chippers feet first and alive.
Sandinistas? Look up Las Tejas sometime. They learned many of their tricks from Cuba, who sent them instructors on the fine art of pain.
Cuba, since we are on the subject: Oddly enough, Hollywood doesn't make movies about Che's less cuddly side, like torturing the Cuban people and setting up jungle gulags.
The Viet Cong: Well, we know how they followed the Geneva Conventions. Just ask any airman or soldier unlucky enough to spend time as a POW.
North Korea: They were the VC's role models
Soviet Union: The USSR and their secret police ran hundreds of gulags, torturing their own citizens. And then sent trainers to other countries to spread their techniques.
China: Who do you think taught the North Koreans and VC?
Nazi Germany: They invented modern torture. Everyone else listed above are standing on the shoulders of the SS's malignant giant. But they actually adhered to the Geneva Conventions with regard to enemy soldiers for much of the war.

So, assuming you were a child between 1937 and 2000, which of these enemies or opponents of the US were we not better than?
Name them. Explain to me why we weren't or aren't.

Sound off or stand down Tina.

@hcddbz said: "Tina S and J... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@hcddbz said: "Tina S and Jake what methods would you use to get information to save American lives?"

How about the ones that countless interrogators, human rights groups, law enforcement officials, and military people have said work: legal, non-torture interrogation.

I've asked this before, and I'm likely to ask again: why do we only ask our military men and women to "die for freedom"? Why do we, as citizens, not feel that it's our duty to understand that maintaining our principles may lead to some amount of death? Are our principles not important enough for YOU @hcddbz to potentially die for? Or would you just prefer to outsource that to people in the military?

As someone who lived through the nightmare of 9/11, I hope I never, ever have to do that again and I hope that my family always, always remains safe. But if given the choice between dying to protect my freedom and the freedom our country grants, or seeing that freedom ripped away from citizens in a quest to eliminate death, I'd hope I had the spine to choose the former.

Today is not only a day to remember the fallen who "fought for freedom", as we so often hear. It's a day to remember WHY they fought and more importantly WHY they died.

It's a day to reme... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
It's a day to remember WHY they fought and more importantly WHY they died.

That's the idea, Jake. Would you like to expound, or would you like us to assume you know what you're talking about with your provocative closing line?

Why do we, as citi... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
Why do we, as citizens, not feel that it's our duty to understand that maintaining our principles may lead to some amount of death?

What principles are those, and why do you assume there are not everyday citizens ready to die for their freedom? Its not just the military that have sacrificed their lives, but we honor those that took an oath to protect the country. That's what this memorial day is about. If you want to include the non-military citizens that have also sacrificed their lives, I won't object.

@LaMedusa - my point is qui... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@LaMedusa - my point is quite simple and already stated: freedom has a cost, and citizen (military and civilian alike) often pay the ultimate price for such freedom.

Today we're remembering military heroes, living and deceased who believed in the freedoms and principles (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) enough to lace up a pair of boots, shoulder a rifle, and put their lives on the line to ensure that we are a country of freedom.

My point was that fighting for freedom doesn't stop at the military uniform. Sometimes those of us who aren't serving end up laying down our lives to ensure that freedom exists. Nothing is ever free, and as so many post-9/11 country songs remind us, "freedom isn't free".

My point was that in a quest to somehow find freedom at zero cost to civilians, we're putting military men and women unnecessarily in harms way. To be able to search for a freedom that costs nothing to civilians, we're setting aside portions of that freedom in a quest to do nothing but protect ourselves. When you actively make a case that disappearing, torturing, and indefinitely holding citizens and non-citizens because it's 100% unacceptable that any American civilian ever dies, you're saying that civilians shouldn't be expected to give up anything in order to protect the very freedoms we hold so dear.

Today it's important IMHO to recognize that brave people die, and their deaths can and should mean something. If we're tossing aside the idea that we're BETTER than horrible, vile quasi-humans and that we act accordingly, even if it's hard, even if it means people die, what's the point of their deaths? If that's the case, what did so many fight for because they certainly weren't/don't fight for "freedom".

If you're not willing to at least respect the idea that formal programs of disappearing and torture is a serious, serious threat to the core idea of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", what IS freedom to you?

Let's disagree, let's debate the torture issue. Perhaps it is acceptable. But why do we have to be so proud, so excited, so giddy at the idea that we're turning into (even in a small way) that which we seek to destroy?

To not at least have some skepticism about disappearing, torturing, and indefinitely detaining anyone in the world is not what our country is supposed to be about, and it's certainly not what my vet friends have told me they were putting their lives on the line to make possible.

Jake, By your twist... (Below threshold)

Jake,
By your twisted and ambiguous use of
language you are nothing but a moby.

Jake,1 I would gladl... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Jake,
1 I would gladly die to protect my country which is Why at 18 I joined the US NAVY and served 7 years. I was one year into another six year enlistment when for medical reasons I had to leave. On 9/11 I was in NY and had to take care of DR for 3 days then got home and worked with the Aid groups going back into the city. I tried to re-enlist with a waiver but I could not get it.

2. The US military goes out of the way to protect Civilians from harm but we do get collateral damage. To willing allow Civilians to be killed just to kill them is a war crime and you want to allow American Civilians to die for what purpose?

3. If the Base had followed the rules of war they would be entitled to all the protections of the Geneva convention. Even then we could still hold them until the cessation of hostilities. You do not charge POW with crimes unless they commit such as as rape and murder of civilians. Since AL Qaeda does not wear uniforms or have ID clearly discernible at distance we could just shoot them.

I do not understand how allowing an enemy to successfully carry out attack on civilians make us a better country.
Again we do no worst to these POS than we do to our men and women who go in harms way.

For the Sailors that Stand ... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

For the Sailors that Stand the Watch.

Aye mates,
For many years, this Sailor stood the watch ...
While some of us lay about our bunks at night,
This Sailor stood the watch.

While others of us were attending schools,
This Sailor stood the watch.

And yes, even before many of us were born,
This Sailor stood the watch.

As our families watched the storm clouds of war,
brewing on the horizons of history,
He stood the watch.

This Sailor looked ashore and saw his family ...
Often needing his guidance but he knew he must stay,
Because he had the watch.

For many years he has stood the watch,
So that we and our countrymen could sleep soundly, in safety,
knowing that a Sailor would stand the watch.

For those that stood in Harms way

Day is done, gone the sun
From the lakes, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest;
God is nigh.


I say thank you to those that have laid down their lives for Freedom
USA June 14 1775
USN Oct 13 1775.
USMC Nov 10 1775
USCG Aug 4 1790
USAF Sep 18 1947

How about the ones... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:
How about the ones that countless interrogators, human rights groups, law enforcement officials, and military people have said work: legal, non-torture interrogation.

Jake,
Since the folks on your side keep moving the goal posts, and your leadership tries to redefine what it means to be briefed and the meaning of the word "is", why don't you:
A) Name these techniques
B) Cite when they've worked in a successful and timely fashion

Again, let us not forget that only three people were water boarded. That these 3 were the worst of the worst, had planned to kill thousands if not millions of civilians. That the men in Gitmo as a matter of course didn't just expect to die for their cause, they welcomed it. Finally, categorizing waterboarding, the way it was done at Gitmo as torture is a rather new semantic twist.

Damned block quote!m... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Damned block quote!
must have left off the /

My point was that ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
My point was that in a quest to somehow find freedom at zero cost to civilians, we're putting military men and women unnecessarily in harms way.

Good God, Jake. Your point is to sing "I Gotta be Me" every time you post a comment. You even debate when there is none. If you have a blog, somewhere, fine. You can use as much bandwidth as you like to prattle on about "your point", then maybe we can go and read it and challenge you there.

Or, as you like to put it:

@Jake. Uh, two things here. First, we get your actual point. Second, you don't need to bury said point into the oblivion of rhetoric you are so fond of using until it disappears from unimpressed eyes.

Or, as SCSIwuzzy put it:

"A) Name these techniques
B) Cite when they've worked in a successful and timely fashion"

That would be a first.

"I do not understand how al... (Below threshold)
Jake:

"I do not understand how allowing an enemy to successfully carry out attack on civilians make us a better country. "

You're twisting my words into something that supports your general disagreement with anything I might say, rather than understanding the point I'm making.

"allowing an enemy" is not what I'm getting at. What I'm saying is that freedom and absolute safety are a balance that our country struggles daily to find a balance. It's a see-saw where allowing ourselves freedoms means that we put ourselves inherently at risk. But that's the reality of our country.

Look at our justice system - we've agreed as a country that it is important to have rule of law, to have a justice system that allows people to present a case to a jury of their peers. Sometimes that means that people go free that shouldn't, but overall, I'm much more interested in having our justice system than not, even if that means not everyone gets locked up that should be. Sure, we could do more to keep those people that law enforcement has deemed "guilty" off the streets. Sure we can be more aggressive in domestic interrogation. Sure we could skip all that pesky miranda stuff. But then who are we? Certainly not the country people around the world want to escape TO not FROM.

The same applies here - I hope that we can use our laws as strength, that we can stick to our international treaty agreements, that we can project to the world that our way of life is above reproach and that we believe in it so much that we are ALL willing (if not interested) in dying to protect it.

But none of this debate matters really. You've already decided that debating who we are as a country, debating where the limits are that we should or shouldn't cross just isn't worthwhile, right?

Or perhaps I'm not quite correct... perhaps you HAVE already debated it and have just decided that American IS about disappearing, torturing, and indefinitely detaining citizens and non-citizens at the will of the government is what we're about.

Jake"Or perhaps I'... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jake

"Or perhaps I'm not quite correct... perhaps you HAVE already debated it and have just decided that American IS about disappearing, torturing, and indefinitely detaining citizens and non-citizens at the will of the government is what we're about. "

Now you are doing what you say others are doing when you said this

"You're twisting my words into something that supports your general disagreement with anything I might say, rather than understanding the point I'm making."

You are twisting words. Your definition of torture is not ours. PERIOD. You dont have the only say on the subject.

In addition, if you want to talk about throwing everything out the window then comment on Chuck Schumer's statement below.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/15/theres-a-few-ants-in-the
-ladys-pants/
Here's Chuck Schumer, the highly partisan senator from New York, talking
about "torture" at a Senate hearing: "I'd like to interject a note of
balance here ... I think there are probably very few people in this room
or in America who would say that torture should never be used,
particularly if thousands of lives are at stake. Take the hypothetical:
If we knew there was a nuclear bomb hidden in an American city and we
believed that some kind of torture, fairly severe maybe, would give us a
chance of finding that bomb before it went off, my guess is that most Americans and most senators, maybe all, would say: 'Do what you have to do.' "
But that was in 2004, before common sense in the party of FDR, Harry
Truman and John F. Kennedy suffered grievous wounds.


---------

I havent gotten a liberal to comment on it yet.

I doubt you will be the first.

@retired military - I've ta... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@retired military - I've talked about this basic point before, but here's my response (you know the one you didn't think I'd answer):

* The ticking time bomb scenario is one that is a false argument; has it ever been a real issue?

* If there is a ticking time bomb scenario, perhaps torture is needed. I've made the point in the past that if my daughter was kidnapped and they had the guy and beating him silly was the only way to (potentially) get her location, I'd beat him in a heartbeat. But two things: 1. I'd understand that I'd be under arrest shortly afterwards and 2. I wouldn't make a case for official, state-sanctioned programs of beating suspects in custody.

* Your comparison is between Schumer's example of knowing there's a nuke hidden and even the three who were waterboarded is weak at best. Nobody has EVER said that these three were in a ticking time bomb scenario, nor has there been claims that nukes were involved at all.

Your comparison i... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:
Your comparison is between Schumer's example of knowing there's a nuke hidden and even the three who were waterboarded is weak at best. Nobody has EVER said that these three were in a ticking time bomb scenario, nor has there been claims that nukes were involved at all.
The Cenotral Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of "enhanced techniques" of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles. Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, "Soon, you will know." According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the "Second Wave"-- planned " 'to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into' a building in Los Angeles."

The CIA did the right thing and should not be punished by Monday Morning quarterbacks on made up laws.

If there is a ticking time bomb scenario, perhaps torture is needed. I've made the point in the past that if my daughter was kidnapped and they had the guy and beating him silly was the only way to (potentially) get her location, I'd beat him in a heartbeat. But two things: 1. I'd understand that I'd be under arrest shortly afterwards and 2. I wouldn't make a case for official, state-sanctioned programs of beating suspects in custody.

So you would use torture on an American Citizen in police custody to get information where your daughter was being held even though in your scenario there was no immediate danger to her life. So of course you and the police would be in prison and the kidnapper would go free.

This in juxtaposition to an enemy combatant not protected under international law, nor on American Soil and not protected by the US justice system. Who is engaged in war against America to kill Americans and has knowledge of attacks where thousands of American will die.
1. We did not do physical harm to this person as you intend to do a criminal.
2. KSM is willing to die for His cause unlike your Kidnapper
3. KSM was trained in how to best use the legal system of the US to benefit his cause
4. The CIA worked closely with Executive and Legislative branches of government when they engaged in EIT while you just doing it for vengeance.
5. You would engage in thuggery instead of process of interrogation.
6. Finally if the methods of Law Enforcement and other groups work so well why not use those instead?


I've asked this before, and I'm likely to ask again: why do we only ask our military men and women to "die for freedom"? Why do we, as citizens, not feel that it's our duty to understand that maintaining our principles may lead to some amount of death? Are our principles not important enough for YOU @hcddbz to potentially die for? Or would you just prefer to outsource that to people in the military?

As someone who lived through the nightmare of 9/11, I hope I never, ever have to do that again and I hope that my family always, always remains safe. But if given the choice between dying to protect my freedom and the freedom our country grants, or seeing that freedom ripped away from citizens in a quest to eliminate death, I'd hope I had the spine to choose the former.

Maybe I missed read this, but it looked like you were saying you would rather have American Civilians DIE than use EIT to prevent their deaths because of some principle.

I do not agree. I stood the watch to keep American safe and if we can use methods that we use on our own to protect them I am all in.

Finally EIT and torture does work. When there is highly sensitive information many governments including the US will issue suicide pills because they know that people will break. An example would be B29 Pilots who dropped the Bomb on Japan.

Most of the time code words and phrase can changed and dates moved, however people with unique knowledge and access to particular information will need to die rather than divulge that information after capture.

That being said EIT is not Torture.
Criminals, POW and enemy combatants are not the something nor do the fall under the same due process laws or rules of evidence.
That is why we had MCA which worked in other wars and even BHO has reverted back to using them.

@hcdbbz unfortunately I don... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@hcdbbz unfortunately I don't have time today for a through response, but will try later.

But two points:

1. Your example of the KSM/LA plot has been proved to be flatly incorrect. KSM's waterboarding didn't stop it, FBI police work did before KSM WAS EVER IN CUSTODY. It's a false story.

2. I didn't say that I would beat the kidnapper for vengence, I said I'd do it for information. i.e. in the case that he said he knows where she is but wasn't telling anyone. Read my example again, please. I don't think you understood what I was saying.

3. Apparently I will never convince you that waterboarding, along with a variety of other tactics (beatings, massive sleep depravation, chaining people to walls, ramming them into walls, cuts on their bodies, chaining to floors, etc.) is torture. Torture supporters like yourself have made this odd argument that it's totally acceptable behavior because we're at war, but that the tactics are fine anyway because they're not torture. So why does it matter if we're at war? Why not use them when we're not at war if they're not "torture"?

Whether you acknowledge it or not, there IS international law against this behavior, just like there is domestic laws against it. We just chose to define away that reality.

4. You said: "Finally EIT and torture does work." Maybe. Rarely. And depends on your goals related to a definition of "work". If you mean that they are giving you valuable, actionable, helpful intelligence, you're wrong. Flat wrong. There are times when perhaps it helps, but there are vastly more times when their information, because gained under tortured has to be verified in other ways anyway. This isn't coming from me, it's coming from former interrogators, CIA officials, military men, and law enforcement.

5. You said: "When there is highly sensitive information many governments including the US will issue suicide pills because they know that people need to die rather than divulge that information after capture."

Someone's been watching too many old movies.

Let's make sure I follow this argument -

a. the Japanese during WWII tortured (and to a level that is vile on a level unimaginable) and it was so effective that we had to give suicide pills to pilots so they wouldn't have to be subjected to it.

b. since torture is so effective, as proven by the Japanese, we need to use their techniques to gain important information.

Am I following that correctly? You want us to be more like the WWII Japanese?

While you're right - spies are given suicide pills for a variety of reasons, the B-29 pilots weren't given them because of information they had, but because it was a better death than the almost certain torture, either through state sanctioned, long-term torture or because landing on Japan would likely lead to them being pulled limb by limb by civilians.

OK, apparently I do have time for a long response :)

So, Jake,You cannot ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

So, Jake,
You cannot specify what the interrogation techniques you say work as well as EIT ARE, or when they have worked in a timely fashion.

Time to put up, or to shut up.

"Maybe I missed read this, ... (Below threshold)
Jake:

"Maybe I missed read this, but it looked like you were saying you would rather have American Civilians DIE than use EIT to prevent their deaths because of some principle."

Yes, you did misread.

Again:

I would rather not have any Americans die (for non-natural causes, of course).

But we live in an country based on principles that attract anger from the worst parts of global society.

In order to maintain those principles, we have to understand that people will attack us for them.

It's how we respond to those attacks that set our tone, that show the world who we are, and help solidify those values for the future.

To say that American is a place where only the military is at risk for the way we live or what we believe is weak and insulting to the military and civilian populations alike.

I was in NYC on 9/11 and if I'd died, I would hope that my death wouldn't be turned into a motive for vengeance, but a proof that in a free society, we act responsibly, ethically, morally ESPECIALLY when times are rough.

In no way, repeat: IN NO WAY do I suggest, encourage, or support civilian deaths.

But I do believe that death is sometimes the cost of a free society. Death that is not JUST people who choose to put on a uniform.

We should continue to fight against those who commit horrible acts. We should continue to work hard to eliminate vile, despicable behavior. But as any cop show should remind you, there's a line between fighting it and becoming it.

Snatching someone off the street, whisking citizens and non-citizens alike off to a cell where they're chained to the floor for 18 hours, beaten, sleep deprived, then kept from due representation for years on end is, in my opinion crossing the line to becoming what we seek to destroy.


@SCSIwuzzy non-EIT (aka: to... (Below threshold)
Jake:

@SCSIwuzzy non-EIT (aka: torture) techniques that work are good old fashion local, federal, international police interrogation tactics.

How's this for an example: Abu Zubaida. Here's how the Washington Post tells the story:

"The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.

"In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida -- chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates -- was obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said."

http://tinyurl.com/c66c82

Here's some more info on why torture doesn't work:
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/etn/primetime/safe.asp

And in case you're curious about the company we're keeping by waterboarding, here's some historical context, courtesy of Wikipedia:

5.1 Spanish Inquisition
5.2 Colonial times
5.3 19th century prisons
5.4 After the Spanish-American War of 1898
5.5 Police "Third degree"
5.6 World War II
5.7 Algerian War
5.8 Vietnam War
5.9 Chile
5.10 Khmer Rouge
5.11 U.S. Military survival training (where they teach how to resist, not how to do it)

I ask for a list of techniq... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

I ask for a list of techniques that work. You post one example of when simulated water boarding may not have worked.

Try again.
Name a technique, show that it worked in timely fashion.

For your wikipedia list, aside from the last one, single out the parties that only simulated water boarding, with a doctor there to make sure the subject was OK, and that it was only performed a few times in a week and never more than once a day.

Your list also forgot to include elementary school "swirlies" and a rather nasty scene from "A Clockwork Orange"


Jake,<br... (Below threshold)

Jake,


Snatching someone off the street,
whisking citizens and non-citizens alike
off to a cell where they're chained to the floor for 18 hours, beaten,sleep deprived, then kept from due representation for years on end is, in my opinion crossing the line to becoming what we seek to destroy.

You repeatedly use this allegation with no
verifiable sources to back up your accusations.
And your opinion is not any more or less
valuable or worthy than any other commentors.

I think Jake and company ha... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

I think Jake and company have confused Cuba with America




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