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Feb 15, 2010 by JOE GANDELMAN, Editor-In-Chief
He was a “big supporter of waterboarding.” A big deal or not?
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It seems to me that this is what he would need to do–to unashamedly and even boastfully throw this out–it “SAVED AMERICAN LIVES” so many times that it will become purely political–the “cowering and world-apologizing Democrats” versus the “not-ashamed-to-call-it-a-war Republicans” instead of the very serious and troubling and potentially soul-losing entity called torture. “We don't torture” is really losing steam.
It is a big deal. Torture is torture. This “Saved American Lives” excuse is unprovable, furthermore we HAD other tools – known interrogation techniques that didn't break the law – that have proven and are proving to be effective enough in getting actionable intel and solid evidence for trials.
The sooner someone – ANYONE – charges Cheney and his lackeys with human rights violations, the better.
Yes it is a huge deal. A very key and influential leader has stated that he supports the use of torture. We should be disgusted that we can have a man like that in power and still call ourselves the good guys. Disgusted.
Hey, it's no big deal. . . if you don't mind living a country that's had conscience-ectomy governed by sociopaths.
Well, we all knew that was true. What we, collectively, need to decide is whether that's an acceptable position to hold, and an acceptable practice to encourage, not whether making an obviously true statement is a big deal. If we're comfortable being a nation that says “we don't torture” while torturing (which, it seems, we are), Cheney will go on making his Captain Obvious statements without punishment. If we're not comfortable with that, he should be prosecuted.
The tens of millions of Americans who feel we are at war and ought not be coddling the enemy are delighted to see a leader give voice to their opinion in the matter. The whole Be Nice to Terrorists agenda of the far left is falling apart, and Obama is being forced to back off if not back down. In case you haven't noticed, Gitmo remains open for business, and the plans to try KSM in New York are under bipartisan attack. The White House is left to sputter about how they aren't doing things any differently than Bush — and is now trying to take credit for winning Iraq which they ran on opposing.
Those of you who want to stew in your pot of self-righteous moral indignation are welcome to do so, but don't count on dragging the rest of us along with your suicidal self-delusion. We do not recognize you as morally superior Beings of Light, just as ordinary people with a different opinion.
“He was a “big supporter of waterboarding..”**********I assume he means of foreigners and not citizens? So if we extradite him to another country to be tried for war crimes, he won't have a problem with them waterboarding him to get information about his role in heading up the CIA's seedy alliances with al Qaida then. You know, because he'll be a foreigner there and his war crimes are heinous enough and his covert information so vast that waterboarding will be his preferred technique for extracting vital information.
The moderate moral high grounders caught up in their delightful fantasy about doing to their American political opponents what they wail like banshees about anyone doing to people trying to blow up commercial airliners full of civilians.
I see yet more tough talk from the 101st Keyboard Brigade.
I think Cheney is likely more afraid of Cub Scout Den #6026. At least they back up their tough talk with spitballs shot out of an old Bic pen.
Just to be clear, DaMav, what you're saying is that you support the US torturing our enemies, and therefore going against the Geneva Conventions, as well as all other no-torturing treaties we've signed since. This is because not torturing our enemies is the same as coddling them, or being nice to them. Is that your position? I don't want to put words in your mouth.
It might have been had it been made under oath with threat of perjury.
As we have seen by Ms. Palin's statements, you are free to say anything (and someone will believe it), but no one will charge you with a crime – not even libel – if the speech is political.
DaMav, the more you post, the more hysterical and strident your rhetoric seems to be getting. While that might impress folks who frequent more rabid regions of the blogosphere, all it looks like here is partisan venting.
Didn't you yanks use to hang a few Jerries over at Nuremberg back in the War over such an unpleasant “Enhanced Interrogation” calumny? I must say I am a bit perplexed as to why you seem so chipper about it now when it's one of your lads involved.
Actually, I'm not perplexed at all. Like every other population on the planet, your actions tend towards evil the more upset, collective and outraged you get.
Next time you speak of American exceptionalism, you should remember that when push comes to shove, you have no more of a backbone or moral high ground than your past nemeses.
No, I think the point is “what's good for the goose is good for the gander”. If Darth Cheney didn't approve of waterboarding, no one would suggest he be subjected to it.
I got it.
Try to blow up a plane full of civilians => no waterboarding, Miranda rights, free legal services, 3 squares a day, arrow to Mecca, special halal diet, family flown over and given visitation rights. “Fluff that pillow for you, Mr Underwear Bomber?”
Advocate waterboarding when necessary => deserve to be waterboarded while the morally superior folks dance around gleefully. He dared challenge our high moral values!
Now I have to be careful let the Tiger claim my impartial observations be 'strident' and he pull out the Garden Hose of Moral Righteousness and train it upon me.
I tend to look at things on a cost-benefit basis. So far, the costs seem crystal clear, and the benefits are always assumed, or provided on a “trust me” basis. If someone can prove that normal interrogation techniques failed, but torture worked, then we can look at the issue in a more concrete way. Right now, I just don't trust them to be telling the truth.
Plus, Roro, DaMav is saying that he supports our enemies torturing Americans, since they are by definition at war with us, too, and we are their enemies.
So point of clarification, DaMav: Your support for torture has nothing to do with national security or gaining actionable intelligence; it has to do with punishment. Someone who blows up a plane full of civilians doesn't deserve to be treated humanely. It's not about handling the individual in a way most likely and best suited to getting reliable information that will prevent future attacks, as well as increasing the likelihood of being able to get a conviction by not tainting the evidence — it's about getting revenge, whether or not the road you have to take to get revenge makes it more likely you will not get actionable intelligence or a conviction in court. Is this an accurate paraphrasing of your position?
Please don't put words into my mouth, even if they fit into whatever you call 'logic'.
If you proposing that al Qaeda is in some way inhibited from doing whatever it wants to do because we are treating detainees according to the Kattenberg/Spencer Code of Superior Values, you are working from a faulty premise.
I will again state what I seem to have to repeat frequently on these threads.
I am in favor of waterboarding when necessary in the opinion of skilled interrogation experts to extract actionable information to save lives. Waterboarding for punishment only, such as was advocated above for Dick Cheney is morally wrong. Nor should waterboarding be used to extract confessions, and in fact information gathered from waterboarding should be excluded from court.
I'm not clear on what you mean by your second sentence. If you mean that Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are not aided in their work by the fact that the U.S. tortures detainees accused of terrorism, you are wrong. They most certainly are. It has nothing to do with being “inhibited” from doing what they want to do out of some kind of appreciation or gratitude for not torturing. It's simple human nature to want revenge or to want to strike back against people who are doing terrible things to you and your loved ones and countrymen. The atrocities at Abu Ghraib were a boon for terrorist recruiters because of the increased levels of outrage and hatred it engendered among Muslims. When Muslims in that part of the world who are not terrorists but might be at risk for becoming terrorists see evidence that other Muslims in U.S. detention are being treated humanely, and not tortured, they are less likely to feel the rage that leads people to want to hurt their perceived enemy as deeply as they have been hurt.
This is not rocket science, DaMav. Really, it isn't.
I am in favor of waterboarding when necessary in the opinion of skilled interrogation experts to extract actionable information to save lives.
Most skilled interrogation experts who really are, objectively, skilled interrogation experts do not support the use of waterboarding or other forms of torture precisely because it doesn't result in actionable information.
Nor should waterboarding be used to extract confessions, and in fact information gathered from waterboarding should be excluded from court.
What would you call it when a person tells his torturer whatever he thinks the torturer wants to hear so the torture will end? Would you consider that a confession? If not, what do you call it?
Also, I'm very curious to know why you think information gained through waterboarding (and presumably other kinds of torture) should be excluded from court. Why, if such information is real, true, legitimate information, should it not be considered evidence that can be used in court?
The big deal could be that – given the information was readily available that torture often produces false information – did the Bush administration ignore that information to the detriment of our security?
To ignore such an important fact and as a result place our troops in danger by using the false information seems to be even more egregious than using an illegal (per both national and international law) method.
One can only imagine how much blood and treasure has been unnecessarily spent relying on this false information. Those that should have known better should be called to account.
The FBI certainly did not ignore that information in their interrogations and were appalled at what they found at Guantanamo and overseas prisons. In fact they started a War Crimes Task Force as early as 2002.
To those that would torture, you must answer the question – If our enemies have tortured our captured troops (and they have) should they be tried for war crimes or not? If not why not? If yes, why should our torturers not be tried?
all it looks like here is partisan venting”
Oh so high. You and your pals don't?
I'm sure you are an exception in your own mind. Also, for a squid type commentator you don't know squat about “our backbone”. Feel free to transfer your 99.9% negative commentaries to a more appreciative audience of your peers. We don't want you to dirty your fingernails over here.
KK, The government's main job is to protect its citizens. O should, or already has, shifted his priorities from trials with a pre-ordained “he will be found guilty-he won't walk” to gathering intelligence. For the 900th time, we don't need to waterboard, but we need to interrogate to gain intelligence. And, you, nor anyone on this forum is an “intelligence expert”. Just NOT Mirandizing a person with a smoking crotch who just got tackled by passengers on a plane, is reasonable and could lead to more and faster actionable intelligence. For example: AQ likes to things in threes. Picture three crotch bombers and say you might stop one or two with timely intelligence. Perhaps lives could be saved, or is that too remote (never mind I know your answer). You will twist this all around and use semantic gymnastics to “disprove” anyone's argument and simultaneously make a derisive remark about their intelligence or integrity. Go ahead.
why should our torturers not be tried?
This is just one of many times that I wish there was some way to get officials investigated. “Equal under the law” is supposed to apply across the board here.
DaMav, trained interrogators refute torture as an effective means of gaining intelligence. http://sciencestage.com/resources/science-s-ver…
Darth Cheney..lol.. Yes, if he wasn't such a fan of it I wouldn't suggest it as a remedy for his own terrorism-for-profit and the secrets he holds that his interrogators abroad will need to extract.
“Now lie down here Dick. Tell us what you know about the connections between your agendas and the coreographed appearances of bin Laden. No? Grrrrggglllrrgggghhh! Ahhh! OK, how about now? No? Grrhhhggggllllleeccchh! How about now?”
And so on..
Sound terrible? I hear it is.
Well, anyone that lived through Watergate knows it can be done. But it requires a clear instance of breaking a law(s), an independent Attorney General and a congress that has enough integrity to prosecute law-breaking no matter which party the administration is.
In Watergate, we had a clear instance of law-breaking, a special prosecutor (and his assistant) with integrity – enough to get fired for it, and a congress that had the guts to prosecute even their own party's administration. Justice was done, for the most part.
In this case the laws were muddied by fallacious interpretations by administration counsels and by a justice department that was anything but independent (or had integrity). As far as congress,I have yet to see a Republican stand up and say “Enough!”, but maybe they did and I missed it.
You took the words out my mouth, Kathy, on the effectiveness of torture.
Furthermore, it has been shown that it wasn't the “opinion of skilled interrogation experts” to resort to torture, but rather of some Bush White House lawyers, some other neocons, and–of course–our dear Mr. Cheney.
Obviously skilled interrogators differ in their opinion of the value of different techniques in different settngs. The reason I included that as a part of the criteria was to make it clear that the decision should not be made by 'anyone' who captures an enemy but someone who has a basis for judgement in these matters.
You do realize that Watergate (warrant-less wiretaps) would be legal now, right? It gets a little scary if you think about it too much.
DaMav, “The White House is left to sputter about how they aren't doing things any differently than Bush — and is now trying to take credit for winning Iraq which they ran on opposing.”
Obama is doing the same things as Bush? First I've heard that Obama supports torture.
As far as opposing Iraq… I don't know what the big deal is… Obama said all along in the election that he would withdraw the troops from Iraq and he has. All the GOP did was throw more troops into the fire and the “surge” that wasn't only got more of them killed. In case you haven't noticed Iraq is not a rose garden and Obama has to be careful in withdrawing the troops. Otherwise things would really deteriorate. And let's not forget that in the many years that Bush had troops in Iraq, Bush did not fully fund them, could not even provide some basic armor to many, causing even more to die.
Is Obama following some Bush policies? Yes. He is and he has to. It's dangerous to become the most powerful man on Earth and throw away everything your predecessor did. Dubya was the “anti-Clinton” and we see where that got us.
Is Obama doing everything Bush did? No he's not. And I'm tired of the meme that people on both the left and the right (for their own weird purposes) are crying out that Obama is following Bush's policies lock-step. He's not so get over it. And be thankful that Obama is taking a measured approach in instituting his changes.
Obama is not the new Bush.
“…why should our torturers not be tried?”
Because “our torturers” are important people with a lot of power and influence. If they are threatened they tell lies to Americans (and the world) to stir up public sympathy for them, making it political suicide for anyone (all Dems in general, regardless of their individual positions) who does want them prosecuted.
The Dems are spineless snakes who can't stand up for the rule of law and truly protect the US Constitution, when others break laws and shred the US Constitution.
When AG Holder's investigator Mr. Durham reports on his investigation into the CIA's interrogation techniques, and whether they exceeded what even Mr. Yoo's convoluted reasoning allowed to be lawful, the many deaths, and the techniques that caused them, will, hopefully, be part of a federal indictment. And the resulting trials will, again hopefully, indict those who authorized them as well as those who performed the torture.
Mr. Holder is not Mr. Gonzalez and I expect better of him. The Democrats have no say in what the independent Attorney General's office does. And the FBI has had a War Crimes Task Force in place since 2002 gathering evidence all this time. So Mr. Cheney is being very foolish to admit on national television that he approved of both waterboarding and “enhanced techniques”. Had Mr. Cheney ever studied law, he might have known better.
Important people with a lot of power and influence eh?
Like Hess, Bormann, Kaltenbrunner and the curious case of Julius Streicher – Sentenced to death. Streicher served as Gauleiter of Franconia 1922-1945. He incited hatred and murder against the Jews through his weekly newspaper, Der Stürmer.
Weren't all these important men of power and influence too?
If I see a smoking crotch, I might to amazed to run away in time.
Do you think the hum of a taping machine can still be heard in the Oval Office? It would probably be less noticeable equipment now because of technology, and besides any president that was foolish enough to have such a thing now (though it wouldn't surprise me if one of the intelligence agencies have one) must have a political death wish.
As far as I know it's still unlawful to conspire in a cover-up of a third rate burglary. The tapes were probably the tipping point for those Republican congressmen that knew they had probably been taped. One wonders what the tipping point will be for current congressmen. Maybe the tea party activists will finally free them from the religious right's influence, but I have yet to hear their view on torture. Note: I discount Ms. Palin's remarks since I think she is far removed from most tea party activist's goals.
As far as I know it's still unlawful to conspire in a cover-up of a third rate burglary.
I don't think the burglary would be needed to record conversations in a hotel room now, and it's hard to say what's going on when officially gathered information has no judicial review.
I have yet to hear their view on torture
As an organizer for one of those, I can tell you it's mixed. I have to fight that one from the libertarian perspective, not the tea party side.
I'm not impressed any more than earlier by the predictable idiotic liberal reactions to Cheney.
What's interesting to those with an IQ above room temperature is the remarkable insistence, and even a lighter-weight form of obscession, Cheney is demonstrating by his fixation with defending torture, a highly specific element of his administration's policy (rather than addressing multiple elements, or the policy in general, as a “strategic” subject), which is what normally would be done and would be expected.
The few really smart liberals join a few cynical conservatives in asking aloud, given he continues this unusual degree of fixation on defending these acts (what the irrational libs neglect), is it to forestall actual, serious problems or criminal charges later?
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