Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, Government, History, Politics, The Law — Rick Moran @ 2:26 pm

For all those who haven’t taken a good hard shot at me lately, I give you my newest up at PJ Media:

As the sands run out on the Bush administration and the nation looks to the incoming Obama White House with a combination of apprehension for the future and a desire to put the past behind us, there remains some unfinished business that is so fraught with political danger and so heavy with symbolism regarding how we Americans see ourselves that the political elites in Washington are reluctant to address it.

I am talking about the whole matter of detainee abuse and whether those who specifically ordered it and carried it out should be punished.

There is no other issue in my lifetime except Vietnam that has elicited such passion in both defenders and detractors. At least with Vietnam there was, if not a middle ground, a gradation of opinion about our involvement and its legality. No such wiggle room exists on the torture issue. You either excuse it or condemn it. You either see the administration as blameless, trying to elicit information that would save us from another terrorist attack, or you believe war crimes have been committed in our name. Perhaps you see the application of torture as a matter of indifference or even justified during war time. Maybe you view the “enhanced interrogation techniques” as falling short of torture. Or maybe you believe that only a full investigation into detainee treatment followed by war crimes trials is the way to redeem the American soul.

Added to the opinion war now is a report issued (PDF required) by the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. Even for those familiar with most of the details regarding Bush administration decisions about “enhanced interrogation” techniques, there is some new information as well as confirmation of the involvement of certain administration officials that directly implicates them in violations of U.S. law.

Read the whole thing.


  1. You’re right, and it’s a brave, principled post.

    Your political allies will attack you and your political opponents will praise you. But I hope the former will bear in mind that if all you’re doing is agreeing with your allies and echoing their sentiements you’re of no value as a writer.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/19/2008 @ 4:33 pm

  2. Certs. Is it a breath mint or a candy mint?

    Ok, I can see how that MIGHT be an interesting question.

    But torture-a matter of opinion or a question of legality? Please.

    You wrote: This is a matter of conscience.

    Yet you also explicitly state that the laws against torturing were broken by Rumsfeld et al.

    Do you or do you not believe in the rule of law?

    You write: I will not, as many liberals do, berate those of you who disagree with me.

    So you are going to make a virtue out of the necessity of tolerating the neanderthals in your party.

    They broke the law; they tortured people, all the while denying Americans would do anything “like that”. But you’ll not berate anyone about this. Wow.

    Comment by Hyperion — 12/19/2008 @ 7:33 pm

  3. Obama has made moves to bring the country together, Republicans in the administration for example, an investigation of Rumsfeld or Cheney would be seen on the right as a purely partisan attack. With all that he has on his plate with the economy, health care, and the war on terror there is no way he would want to add to his problems now. Will McCain call for some type Congressional investigation? If so, what would be the reaction of his fellow Republicans?

    Comment by grognard — 12/19/2008 @ 9:58 pm

  4. I’m not sure there is no middle ground - especially of the type you mention in regards to the Vietnam War.

    In fact, you seem to lay out some territory for that middle ground yourself.

    It would have been nice if 9/11 had stirred into action the world community to do some work on the Geneva Conventions and similar international law to move us from post-WWII to the 21st terrorist century - but we have been too chicken - and too bent on petty contemporary crap.

    I think the framers of the Geneva Conventions would be puzzled at our handling of “detainees” - since they clearly spelled out rules for who were sanctioned fighters in a war.

    But, anyway, societies have moved on from that time, and if the world community wants to make some new definitions and amendments to deal with the kind of well-financed global terrorism in our high technology, high transportation world - which they should - then get cracking on it. It won’t be easy - but it might go a long way into making a hell of a lot of people focus on what goes on out there in the real world - rather than in cocktail parties in Manhattan or the rarified air of college classrooms.

    Water boarding is a good case to begin with. We use it on some service men and other government employees whose line of work might one day land them in some other group’s torture chambers —- so — if water boarding a detainee is a war crime, should we go back and prosecute the members of all previous administration who allowed such crimes to take place - crimes against our own citizens - not just its own citizens, but its patriots.

    I didn’t like the idea of Gitmo from the start - but for reasons different from what I usually hear:

    To me, it was a big huge bleeping politician’s cop out - the non-answer to a problem.

    What we needed was leadership that would have brought international law and understanding into 21st century realities - however the world community would decide to deal with it.

    And if the US decided to go it alone or against nations - like with the International Criminal Court - so be it. But let’s get the discussion going and make some lasting decisions - instead of this crap limbo.

    If our Supreme Court wants to alter the Geneva Conventions to include fighters left out of the old rules, fine, but let’s re-write those rules to reflect our post-modern sensibilities — and if that isn’t the way the majority wants to go, even better. But let’s hash it out….

    Comment by usinkorea — 12/19/2008 @ 11:06 pm

  5. @usinkorea:

    “Water boarding is a good case to begin with. We use it on some service men and other government employees whose line of work might one day land them in some other group’s torture chambers——so—if water boarding a detainee is a war crime, should we go back and prosecute the members of all previous administration who allowed such crimes to take place – crimes against our own citizens – not just its own citizens, but its patriots.”

    A fair analogy, but unfortunately it breaks down because for it to follow through the soldiers going through SERE training would have to be prisoners.
    (*warning: absolutely repugnant/inappropriate example coming up . . . all I could think of at the moment; sorry).
    I saw a video a few days ago on the Net of some . . . well, I guess they would call themselves “free-thinkers” (I call them seriously disturbed) who enjoyed driving multiple heavy-guage fishhooks (I’m talking sharkfishing-appropriate-sized hooks) into their back so they can be suspended from the ceiling on chains like slabs of meat in the butcher’s walk-in. The truly dedicated get permanent rings embedded in their backs (I suppose to cut down on the blood loss, but honestly they lost me at “deliberate self-mutilation” so the rationale may well be anything).
    Is that torture? For the freak and freakettes, no. A cry for help, mabye, but that’s their call. Clearly though, if a sheriff did that to an inmate incarcerated in their facility . . . well, “apples and oranges” despite being the same behavior.
    Also, as you pointed out the whole reason the SERE trainees go through that is specifically because it IS torture — it’s to let them experience getting tortured so that if they God forbid end up in a country that might torture them (”some other group’s torture chambers”) for information they might be better able to cope. The program took specific methods of torture that lawless regeimes use(d), otherwise it would be relatively pointless — experiencing what waterboarding and beatings feels like isn’t going to help too much if my captors use the “slowly feed the prisoner into a wood chipper” style, since at least some of the physological reactions would be unique.
    I’ve posted this link before, but this is a post from the former chief instructor at SERE . . . according to his alleged bona fides, he’s used these techniques on thousands of American soldiers personally — the closest thing I’ve ben able to find to an actual “expert” on the topic:

    If the discussion is whether something illegal/immoral had to be done at the time (justification, extenuating circumstances, etc.) that’s one thing, but that’s an entirely different (and incompatible) argument to positing it wasn’t illegal/immoral behavior. Like Mr. M. said in the post . . . should it be permitted? Should the law be changed? There are arguments to be made in this vein (I personally disagree with them, but there are coherent arguments regardless), but whether the behavior is a violation of current rules/regs/laws/treaties/morals is relatively straightforward.

    Unfortunately, that leads to a very uncomfortable situation. I certainly don’t think the agents and eventually soldiers that engaged in the torture should be put on trial for war crimes — although it’s considered a sneer, they were literally “just following orders”, they were told it was a life-or-death situation, they didn’t initiate the torture, etc. — however the people that did give the orders aren’t ever going to face the legal consequences: I have no doubt that W, Cheney, Rummy, et. al are NEVER EVER going to be arrested, shipped to the Hague in chains, and executed regardless of what did or didn’t happen. So either the law is enforced against the bit players, the “few bad apples” at Abu Grahib (yeah . . . some 19 year old Wal-Mart cashier spontaneously did a “VietNam” on a prisoner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:AbuGhraibAbuse-standing-on-box.jpg . . . no CIA-and-therefore-official-direction presence whatsoever, pure coincidence . . .) who certainly don’t deserve it (but unfortunately “following orders” was intentionaly written out of the USMC so the only question for them would be how long they go to prison), or we don’t bother at all. To protect the Rule of Law, good people who don’t deserve it will be destroyed. To protect the people from being abused by the system, we’ve got to turn our back on the Law. I don’t know whats going to happen, but its not going to be pretty.

    Comment by busboy33 — 12/20/2008 @ 8:54 am

  6. Any liberal (or conservative) who condemns the use of extreme interrogation techniques as “illegal” but then works on behalf of illegal immigrants is not interested in the law. It’s a political point, that’s all.

    Our country is going to hell in a hand-basket, we’re going to be living in a 3rd world society with posters of Obama on every corner. That’s what I care about right now. I really don’t care what they’re doing in Guantanamo–I would imagine some of the practices in Barney Frank’s bedroom are as beastly and disgusting as some of what goes on there. And Congress tortures us every day.

    Many people are misguided, believing that everything will be solved if we just turn our country over to the U.N., and become just another piece in the world’s “brotherhood of man”. They seem to see countries as equals, no matter if they are run by a Chavez or a Putin. Well, I don’t see it that way. Cuba is not our equal. Venezuela is not our equal. Our country’s welfare depends on recognizing this.

    The fact that you, Rick, and your readers, have an opportunity to be reading and writing here today is owed partly to the “successes” at Guantanamo. People like me, the non-elites, are thankful for the fact we haven’t been blown up since 9-ll.

    When our society looks one way on some laws and prosecutes others for political purposes, we are doomed. If the administration is prosecuted, but we aren’t given the facts about where the money resides from the non-transparent bail-out, and welfare checks are still handed to illegals, then there’s not much hope for us.

    Comment by sara — 12/20/2008 @ 9:37 am

  7. Senario:

    Your name is Mark Lundsford. Your daughter has been kidnapped and the police have John Cuey in custody and says he knows where she is as he has put her in a dark hole in the ground but won’t tell them where. The police also tell you that there is a possibility she is still alive but unless they find her soon, she will die.

    Would you waterboard John Cuey to get the information on your daughter’s location? Or would you stick to your beliefs that waterboarding is torture and not to be used in any circumstances knowing that your daughter will probably die?

    I have asked this question many times of those who do not support waterboarding. No one would ever give me a direct answer. Some have told me that my senario is not practical, or that is is not applicable because of our laws.

    Taking the moral high ground is a great thing to do, but it will not impress one jihadist whose goal is to see Americans dead. Instead, it is considered a weakness of the “paper tiger”.

    Personally, if I were seeking information from a jihadist held at GITMO, I would slaughter a pig in front of them and threaten to pour that pig blood all over them. To defeat the enemy, you must understand the enemy.

    Comment by retire05 — 12/20/2008 @ 12:31 pm

  8. Well written , sir. Sara, you are the ultimate conservative for far too many liberals. Working to assist illegal immigrants does not equal condoning illegality, but rather a method of protesting a law seen as wrong and treating the poorest with compassion. When was the last time a liberal in charge lead America to be a third world nation? Perhaps, never?

    And Barney Frank’s bedroom equals Gitmo torture? If you want to be homophobic, it’s your right, but sadism and mashochism to an extreme is more frequently heterosexual than homosexual.

    Please name three politicians with the clout to accomplish it that have advocated turning the government over to the U.N. I’ll wait.

    And you really believe torturing people in Gitmo has stopped the U.S. soil from being attacked by Muslim terrorists? We have been attacked a total of two times by these groups. Am I to believe that al Quiada has no leadership or foot soldiers capable of a terrorist attack on the U.S., except those few locked up in Cuba?

    Such twaddle undermines useful conservatism that is best reflected in your last, excellent paragraph. Funding illegal immigrants is plain wrong and the slight of hand bailouts cannot be trusted. However, prosecuting Bush, et. al for war crimes is not just political, its a necessity to deal with an affront to American ideals and law, as well as international law. And it should be by an international tribunal, not an American entity, just a most prior war crime investigations have been conducted.

    Comment by still liberal — 12/20/2008 @ 1:31 pm

  9. Rick,

    Thanks for a great article. I too was outraged that our great nation had stooped beneath the level of dignity and sound ethics to employ torture. A land of freedom, liberty, and justice for all became a land of evil at that level. It was EVIL!!

    There is NO EXCUSE FOR IT!! If any of those who would like to protest that “all’s fair in war”… it was not war. It was prisoners of war… not active combat in a “fight” against an opponent. It was abuse of power. It was torture.

    If you would like to read our Constitution, our Constitution states that we are granted INALIENABLE RIGHTS BY OUR CREATOR. We are not granted those rights by the USA. We are not granted those rights by an administration. We are not granted those rights by a military tribunal. We are not granted those rights by a Supreme Court. We are not granted those rights by US citizenship. No! We are granted certain INALIENABLE RIGHTS by our Creator.

    Those who would argue for torture, I say, “Shame on you!!”. You show no respect for GOD when you show no respect for your fellow man. The Bible states, “How can you say you love God who you have not seen when you do not love man who you have seen - made in His image.” So, would ANY OF YOU who CLAIM TO BE CHRISTIAN agree to torture the Lord Jesus Christ?? Well, that’s what you are doing when you torture men made in His image. They are under your power and you show no restraint and no respect for God and their human rights given to them by God. That is becoming an evil empire.

    Well, Rick, I’m not certain what to do about it now. It must be stopped. I believe it has been stopped. I don’t know whether it would be proper to go back and prosecute now. Honestly, it would require prosecution of the former POTUS, George W. Bush. If he is not going to be prosecuted, let none in his administration be prosecuted.

    I cannot see prosecuting George W. Bush because what’s done is done. But it comes down to that. The ERROR was in not impeaching him for the sake of torture. That was sound reason to impeach a standing President. I voted for him. I voted for McCain also. But if he had been impeached on the basis of legitimating torture in his administration, I would have accepted that - and would have allowed prosecution of all in his administration who engaged in this.

    To me, it’s too late. It sullied America - and it produced the winning election of Barack Hussein Obama. That is the punishment to the unthinking persons from the right who agreed with torture. McCain could just as well be a Democrat in his platform. Had he run on the Democratic ticket, I would have voted for him in my protest against torture. That’s how powerfully most Americans were against torture.

    It’s cost Republicans their hold on the White House. That punishment has been rendered. I’m not certain what more can be done at this point without being hypocritical if GWB himself were not prosecuted - and I think that completely inappropriate, myself. His job is done. We do need our reputation restored. McCain stood against torture. That’s why he had my support in the primaries.

    The failure to stand against torture cost the Republicans a lot in 2008. I hope they learn from it.

    God bless.

    Comment by laura — 12/20/2008 @ 3:15 pm

  10. It’s a very simple rule. No torture. Ever.

    Comment by Transplanted Lawyer — 12/20/2008 @ 4:24 pm

  11. Laura:
    I’m an Obama supporter and an atheist, but I found your comment moving and rather wonderful.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/20/2008 @ 11:17 pm

  12. @Retire05:

    Of course anybody would do whatever was necessary under the scenario you describe — that’s kind of the reason we as a society don’t let the dad of the victim interrogate the suspect.

    I think you posted this “hypothetical” before, and unless I’m falsifying memories I’ll ask you your “Liberals are to pansy to answer” question the same as I did before — keep every detail of your incredibly slanted, unrealistic scenario except for one. Change the prisoner’s name from John Cuey to Fred Anderson. After you repeatedly bring him to the brink of drowning and beat the daylights out of him (what . . . you’ll drown him but not give him a few smacks? You’re daughter’s in the hole, man! tick tock!),what are you going to do when the cops tell you it turns out this guy actually doesn’t have anything at all to do with your missing daughter. See, they heard from the Seargent that the District Commander was talking to somebody important and they told him that the County Commisioner said this prisoner was SUPER guilty.
    Of course, when they told you about him and gave you the keys to the cell that sort of got left aside in the excitement. Race against the clock and all that.

    So my question is: What are you going to tell Mr. Anderson after he gets out of the hospital? Better still, what are you going to tell his brothers and cousins when they stop by some late evening to discuss their perspective on the incident? Don’t mind the Louisville Sluggers and the tire irons . . . they’re just worried about traveling around so late at night, when there aren’t any helpful witnesses about. Y’know . . . ‘cuz accidents happen. Can’t be too careful.

    Comment by busboy33 — 12/20/2008 @ 11:18 pm

  13. The 9/11 commission show trial was a fishing expedition for impeachment, letting the Bush Administration know it was on the hook for “criminal negligence” and responsible for the murders of 3000 Americans. Why did Bush read “My Pet Goat”? Why wasn’t everything possible done to prevent the attacks? OK, so they have done everything possible, and that is wrong, too.

    Comment by DaveC — 12/20/2008 @ 11:34 pm

  14. busboy, you say that my senario is slanted and unrealistic. How so? John Cuey admitted he had taken Jessica. Are we to now discount the confessions of murderers? It is you who is trying to present a slanted and unrealistic senario with Mr. Anderson.

    Also, KSM was one of the detainees waterboarded. There is no proof, nor has there been any claims that he was “slapped around”. But to make it sound even worse, you make references to Louisville Sluggers and tire irons. And yet, you admit that you, as Mark Lundsford, would resort to any technique at your disposal to find your daughter.

    See, you can’t really deal in fact. You, like all those from the left, must create a senario that really has nothing to do with fact. It is called the “yeah, but” argument. And it, and you, are equally lame.

    Now, proving how clueless you are you don’t seem to realize that you do not drown from waterboarding. It only gives the person the impression of drowning.

    So, under your “no waterboarding EVER” policy, can we now arrest and prosecute those “peace” protesters who are seen in orange jumpsuits carrying their signs protesting the war and waterboarding each other in the streets of D.C.?

    There was a big deal over Christopher Hitchins subjecting himself to waterboarding. He determined it was, in fact, “torture” yet Hitchens seems to have no permanent damage or even any physical signs he has ever been “tortured”. I wonder if Hitchens would be willing to have his hand cut off to see if Saddam’s methods were really “torture”?

    Comment by retire05 — 12/21/2008 @ 1:38 pm

  15. laura wrote:It’s cost Republicans their hold on the White House. That punishment has been rendered.

    so you argue that the deterrent to breaking the law is losing elections? how about being prosecuted for breaking the law? i thought that was what we had a justice system for. oh, wait, the bush admin has broken that, too. i guess we’ll just have to let everyone off the hook. good idea. the founding fathers would be proud!

    Comment by Hyperion — 12/21/2008 @ 4:54 pm

  16. retire05:
    the Soviets perfected ‘harsh interrogation techniques’ in the times of the Gulag. They knew you can break almost everyone with sleep deprivation, hunger etc and you don’t need to resort to medieval techniques. I’m sure the Bolsheviks also thought what they did was for the good of the country. These were people from the ‘left’. Well and then you had the Nazis on the ‘right’. I do not want to be in any of their company when it comes to torture because that is what you are talking about. I respect your view but just spare me this ‘naive lefty’ spiel. This has nothing to do with left or right.

    Comment by funny man — 12/22/2008 @ 12:07 am

  17. Anyone who ordered and/or carried out torture should be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Spare me the intellectually dishonest ticking time bomb scenario retire05. Torture is evil and wrong. Period.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 12/22/2008 @ 1:58 am

  18. Retire:

    You’re the one not dealing with reality. To save my kids I’d shoot you in the head. Is that how you want our country to be run? Or do you think maybe there should be laws to keep people from killing other people on mere suspicion.

    We make laws when we are calm and rational to govern our behavior when we are neither. Most of what we have of value in this world comes out of that system of law. Law, not passion. It’s what differentiates us from animals. Or from animals like Saddam.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/22/2008 @ 2:41 am

  19. War changes everything. Commit espionage during peacetime, and you go to prison. Do it during war, and you get hanged. These guys want to KILL US. They want to KILL EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU KNOW- your mother, your father, your wife and every one of your children. They would set off a nuke in every city in his country if they could. Are you out of your f-ing minds?

    I vehemently disagree with Rick on this, but respect his right to his opinion, not the opinion itself.

    I strongly suspect that those, to a man, who want prosecution/vengence on the “war criminals” would also want somebody’s head if they lost a loved one from a terrorist act that could have been prevented via agressive interrogation (or torture if you prefer).

    Everybody’s wired differently, and I am wired to not feel any compassion for people that want to murder my children or destroy my country.

    War changes everything, and the war on terror is not a bumper sticker.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/22/2008 @ 9:59 am

  20. lionheart

    War changes everything, and the war on terror is not a bumper sticker.

    Declare war on a notion, then make up the rules as you go. Isn’t it amazing how convenient this is? It almost seems like it’s… wait for it… by design!? Like focus groups were used to see which language would make the majority of the people able to stomach the evil?

    It’s interesting to watch people use bumper sticker logic justify the unjustifiable, especially in people who call themselves Christian.

    Terrorism is more than a “notion.” That’s a pretty silly idea. It may not be a “country” except that there are nation states that provide material support so that terrorists can exist. It may be a “tactic” except it carries with it an ideology as nasty and evil as fascism or communism. To say you can’t declare war on an ideology is laughable. We have declared war on organized groups of people who wish to destroy us. If we can defeat them by destroying nations that harbor and support them, so be it. If we can defeat them by rooting them out and killing them one at a time, so be it. Counter terrorism doctrine is changing as we learn the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The only thing we can’t do is kill them after they’ve already slaughtered thousands or tens of thousands of us. That is a loony idea and is what is involved in making the “War on Terror” a police action more suited to INTERPOL or Scotland Yard than the US military. Police are not suited to take down terrorists - except the bunglers and amatuers who are too stupid not to get caught.


    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 12/22/2008 @ 11:12 am

  21. Declaring war on a notion or ideology is completely nonsensical. It only sounds good. It’s as utterly stupid as declaring a War on Evil.

    Hell, why not just do that? The United States hereby declares a War on Evil! It will be perpetual war, and any time we want to spend money on something we’ll put it under the all encompassing umbrella of the War on Evil. Thus, if taxpayers should ever demand some accountability, we’ll just say we need to spend your money as part of the War on Evil. They’ll fold in a heartbeat because hey, who wants to be known for interfering with the War on Evil?

    It’s a propaganda tool designed specifically to fool people. It is as ridiculous as the supposed War on Drugs. The War on Drugs is a complete and utter failure that wastes billions of taxpayer dollars. So too is the War on Terror. A war without end with a black gaping tax dollar money pit bigger than all the rest.

    Of course there are evil people who want to kill us. Of course we should find them and kill them. But doing so under financial rubber stamp of the “War on Terror” is a disservice to the American tax payer, not to mention a virtual green light for the destruction of personal liberties.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 12/22/2008 @ 12:58 pm

  22. Chuck, just for the record, the rules of war are ALWAYS made up as you go- or perhaps I should say all rules are immediately thrown out the window. And some people would NEVER find a justification for any war, for any reason. Are you in that group (I don’t think so, but I could be wrong).

    But the justification for war is another topic- this one is about the criminal liability of torture administrators. Lets debate the former another day.

    I prefer waterboarded terrorists over dead family members, so I’m going to have to side with the interrogators. Keep in mind that, although they were subjected to extreme discomfort, NONE of those guys died or suffered permanent disabilities. So as long as the motives of the interrogators wasn’t to get their jollies off, I see no crime.

    Sorry about all the caps- I don’t know how to insert bold or italics.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/22/2008 @ 1:59 pm

  23. Chuck Tucson, are you then saying we should abandon the War on Poverty? Good, no more public housing, food stamps, AFDC, WIC or any other program designed to combat poverty in America. After all, poverty is just a “notion” as is terrorism. Besides, Harry Ried has already told us the War is lost.

    It is amazing to me that people here say they would do anything to protect their own children, yet will take the moral high ground when it comes to protecting thousand of other people’s children just so they can feel good about themselves.

    What is it you don’t understand about radical Islam? Are you still buying into that whole “Religion of Peace” thing? Do you really think that the Jolly Jihadists subscribe to your guidelines on “morality”? Can you show that even one person’s life has been spared since we announced we will no longer waterboard anyone in our custody? I can promise you that if you had one clue as to the mindset of the jihadists, you would understand that any capulation on our part (including the suspension of tough interrogation techniques) is thought of as a weakness on our part and should be exploited.

    No, I don’t think we should “torture”. No cutting off limbs or hands. No streching racks, cigarette put out in eyes, hanging from hoodks. But if subjecting the jihadists to Madonna music at a high decible level, and pouring water over their faces to make them think they are going to drown saves even one innocent American life, pass me the watering can.

    Feel free to take the “moral” high ground. There are those who are willing to abandon theirs to protect you and prevent a tall building from falling down around you.

    Comment by retire05 — 12/22/2008 @ 2:09 pm

  24. Terror is a pretty well defined set of acts that involve killing innocent people because they don’t believe in your set of principles (of late, religion in general, Islam in particular). Declaring war on evil is a bit more nebulous- in fact, I think taxes are evil, but I’m don’t want to declare war on the IRS.

    Your argument is silly.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/22/2008 @ 2:25 pm

  25. What is it you don’t understand about radical Islam?

    Nothing. I understand it well.

    Are you still buying into that whole “Religion of Peace” thing?

    Meh. As much as I buy into Christianity being a “Religion of Peace”.

    Do you really think that the Jolly Jihadists subscribe to your guidelines on “morality”?

    No. And furthermore, I don’t care.

    Can you show that even one person’s life has been spared since we announced we will no longer waterboard anyone in our custody?

    This question is nonsense.

    I can promise you that if you had one clue as to the mindset of the jihadists,

    I understand the mindset. Just like any fundamentalist religious faction that thinks it’s doing Gods work, It’s not that hard to grasp.

    you would understand that any capulation on our part (including the suspension of tough interrogation techniques) is thought of as a weakness on our part and should be exploited.

    Nothing, nothing I have ever read has proved that torture actually works. NOTHING. You think I care about some terrorist being waterboarded, which, by the way IS torture? No, I don’t care. Torture results in lies mixed with truth. Torture results in mediocre to bad intelligence that wastes time and money. Wasting time and money costs lives. If torture produced anything of value that couldn’t have been achieved by non evil means, then I’d be all for it, but it doesn’t.

    Instead, it is an evil, morrally corrupt, time and money wasting practice that results in bad intelligence and false allegations. It’s something that I don’t want my country to be a part of because there are other, more effective ways of getting BETTER information.

    The universal ticking time bomb scenario does not apply. It’s designed as a back door to give people a way condoning evil while feeling good about it. Congratulations.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 12/22/2008 @ 3:24 pm

  26. Chuck, how odd that you treat any question that seems to make you uncomfortable as “nonsense”. But that’s OK. I am used to typical leftist responses when facts interfer with their perception of reality.

    Now, perhaps you would like to explain how Christianity is not a religion of peace? How far back do you want to go? 15th century? 10th century? 8th century? How about modern Christianity? Seen many Christians flying planes into tall buildings lately?

    You say you have never read anything that leads you to believe that “torture” (since you consider waterboarding torture) works. Explain then KSM. Why is it that after he was waterboarded he gave up intelligence that proved to be 90% accurate? Or do you discount him out of convenience?

    Obviously, you do not understand radical Islam as you seem to be operating from a moral compass they do not subscribe to. You, like most liberals, judge a society by your own accepted societal norms. Perhaps you should read a little more about Islam, and where the radicalism comes from. You say that you don’t care that they don’t subscribe to your guidelines of morality. I say that if you don’t understand the enemy, you cannot defeat them.

    You think I am a bad person because I don’t give a damn about the terrorists, their supposed “civil” rights, and know that if they had the chance, they would happily remove my head from my neck. I think you are a fool. Guess that levels the playing field.

    You stick to your guns. I will continue to support those who load theirs.

    Comment by retire05 — 12/23/2008 @ 2:35 pm

  27. Retire05:
    as I have pointed out in previous posts. Don’t make this a left/right issue. In this matter, the Bolsheviks would be in complete agreement with you. Aren’t they ‘left’?

    Comment by funny man — 12/23/2008 @ 6:51 pm

  28. I am concerned the talk about prosecuting those who implementions said is policies (say, regarding water boardings or ideas regarding interpretations of the Geneva accords) is extremely problematic because they are actively debated right now. The report put out by congress is not some bi-congressional report with clear and unanimous agreement but rather a biased political report designed to damage the outgoing administration and party to the advantage of the incoming administration (as well as it’s ideology). One, it should be added, many of whose conclusions are not based on any facts whatsoever.

    To say that we should consider prosecuting, for example, John Yoo, Douglas Feith, or Donald Rumsfeld because they had a position on the law that later was regarded as unpopular or incorrect strikes me as little more then post de-facto justice.

    I believe that the Attorney General of the State of California is engaged in rank violation of his duties under Constitution of his state by making absurd claims that somehow an the amendment passed to bar marriage between two persons of the same sex is somehow invalidate because it “invalidates a previously established right.” However, does this mean that if California, in the unlikely event of a sudden Republican takover should consider attempting to prosecute AG Brown for say, crimes against the state constitution despite the fact he clearly believes his actions are within his ideas, however misguided, of a “living constitution” should function? Of course not, such would be ridiculous.

    What I am suggesting is that we must be extremely careful with the idea of proceeding with trials of political appointees for subjects of current of democratic debate in a country for the reason that such actions would quickly become addictive for a party in power, and the party in opposition would soon wish to return the favor. Such things would necessarily lead to rapid destabilization, and the risk of the political violence as partisans become concerned they can no longer operate openly without the risk of oppression from above.

    Comment by Jim — 12/23/2008 @ 11:45 pm

  29. Michael Reynolds,

    Thank you. You may be interested to learn that the Bible states, in the original language, that all atheists go to Heaven… eventually. The lake of fire is not vindictive and without end but remedial. It burns away every sin ever committed along with the sinful nature and prepares all mankind for the grace of God in complete and total restoration in sonship to God and perfection. That’s my view because it’s what the Bible in original language states. I always have a heart for atheists who are told they are going to burn in hell for eternity.

    How does this relate to torture?? Well, don’t you think that a view of God as an eternal torturer makes people think, “Well, if God tortures - it can’t really be all that wrong to torture people… if it’s “justified”.” Eternal torture (eternal torment) is a false doctrine that instills really, really bad principles in people that they don’t consciously comprehend is part of their weakness in character sometimes. I mean, it’s not necessary to understand God loves and saves all in final restoration to be against torture - but it certainly brings us closer to the true heart of God in understanding grace and God’s love for all people as His children - though some are prodigals. God views all people as His children - even those of diverse religions at this time. God will, from a biblical view in the original language, bring all prodigals home by granting them clear understanding and faith in Himself in salvation in the end. I just think that this view of “us against them” instead of seeing ourselves as all one family born of Adam and one family to be reborn of Christ in due season - creates this tendency to demonize and objectify people and that’s when things get dangerous.

    I just don’t expect that the Islamicists, however, can take so gracious a view because their religion doesn’t teach grace rather than law and compulsion and such. However, Christianity is a loving religion - and all weakness towards God’s grace and love for all people is best removed by clarification - so that we can see and know the great love with which God views all mankind - even those who do not believe in Him or those who follow another religion - still God loves them, died for them, and will have ultimate grace and mercy on them in restoration. I think the more Christians know and realize that truth, the less adversarial they will be in positions of power and the greater grace they will have. Abraham Lincoln, I believe, it is promoted he held this view. (Though, honestly, I personally cannot see the war against the South as a “Just War” because I do believe in liberty and the rights of free states to secede. Nonetheless, though I cannot agree with his declaration of war against the South - I still think his character showed a humility that is present when we realize that God does not have “have” and “have nots” in His mind… but rather has all people in His heart in love and will bring all to a place where they truly do believe and desire to spend eternity with Him in love of their own free wills… one day. That, as a Christian faith, to me lends greater grace to all.)

    Hyperion… you may be right. I will grant you that - I may be wrong and you may be right. It is challenging for me. If political power can be raised to prosecute - I don’t think I will defend any. After all, I saw soldiers who received higher orders prosecuted… and I did not appreciate how law was applied to them and not others. I will cede to the will of the people. I am having a challenging time, honestly, determining what is “right” and what is “wrong” in relation to prosecution of these crimes. I very strongly believe in human rights - and the need to hold a firm line against torture. I even could not feel strong conviction inside myself when I said it’s too late now. Nixon was impeached and pardoned. The law was upheld, yet the dignity of the office was upheld as well. You may be right and I may be wrong and I will not strenuously debate my position because I do not hold it with inner conviction that I am standing on a firm foundation of justice and right and wrong. I think I’ll pray about it and leave the matter to the Lord. If you raised a strong consensus on the matter, I would not be on an opposite side opposing you on it. That’s all I can say.

    Merry Christmas to all.


    Comment by l — 12/24/2008 @ 10:18 am

  30. Good post, Jim. Uncomfortible techniques have been used by our “non public” agencies under every administration, democrat or republican, since this country was founded. Maybe we should just, as a matter of course, hang every President and Vice President after their term is over. It could be a public festival…a catharsis of sort.

    I, personally, view going to prison as torture. So, to some of you here, no matter what I do, better not send me to prison. Not if you want to keep a clear conscience.

    For those of you who wish to be the lambs, fed to the lions, be my guest. Your sensitivities amuse me.

    I, for one, thank God every night for the rugged, clear thinking men and women who are willing to put their lives and comfort on the line under the most extreme circumstances so that the rest of us might engage in these intellectual exercises.

    Look around folks, Nature can be very cruel. Survival is rule number one.

    Islamic extremism is the enemy we face today. Kindness will not defeat them. I say, look them in the eye, draw the line. If they cross it they pay. And it should be painful.

    Comment by charlie dorfman — 12/25/2008 @ 10:49 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress