Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


"The President has the authority."
September 21, 2006 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Senators cave on torture.
posted by EarBucket (252 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Vell, the Constitution's just zis piece of paper, you know?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:39 PM on September 21, 2006


Signing statement!
posted by anthill at 8:42 PM on September 21, 2006


What can I say about society or any court that hasn't been said by their actions?
posted by furtive at 8:44 PM on September 21, 2006


"Senators tortured in caves", now there's a headline the american people can get behind!!!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:54 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Alternate headline: "Senators prefer the safety and wellbeing of Americans to the safety and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill us all."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:55 PM on September 21, 2006


Spectemur agendo.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:58 PM on September 21, 2006


steven's right. now the war on terror will only last 20 years, instead of 30!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:00 PM on September 21, 2006


Alternate headline: "Senators prefer the safety and wellbeing of Americans to the safety and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill us all."

Alternate alternate headline: "Senators and President now allow the torture of American Soldiers in all future conflicts."
posted by underdog at 9:02 PM on September 21, 2006 [6 favorites]


"Senators prefer the safety and wellbeing of Americans to the safety and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill us all."

and who defines who a terrorist is? ... or an enemy combatant? ... what happens when american citizens start being defined as such?

is there a sudden problem with our judicial system that we can no longer hope to convict people who, whatever name you wish to call them, have committed criminal acts against our country? ... (and you do understand that one can be convicted of that without ever having done these acts in the united states ... just ask mr noriega) ... i've YET to see any kind of logical reason why these people are incapable of being tried in our court system

and then people who speak up for such measures have the nerve to call themselves conservatives ... this isn't the kind of conservatism we used to have in this country ... you know, the kind where due process of law and constitutional rights were respected and the giving of dangerous powers to the government was cautioned against
posted by pyramid termite at 9:07 PM on September 21, 2006


How fucking disgusting and embarrassing.
posted by ao4047 at 9:07 PM on September 21, 2006


Even More Alternate Headline: "Senators allow method that is famous for producing false, unreliable information, but don't worry because we super-duper promise we'll never use it on Americans!"
posted by spaltavian at 9:10 PM on September 21, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste writes "Alternate headline: 'Senators prefer the safety and well-being of Americans to the safety and well-being of terrorists who want to kill us all.'"


Jesus, Steve. Didn't we both grow up on movies about heroic American POWs insisting Nazis observe the Geneva Conventions? Didn't Reagan condemn the USSR as an Evil Empire in part because of Lubyanka and the Gulag?

Weren't we as Americans proud that institutionalized torture and cruelty were something we opposed, castigating North Vietnam and North Korea and Red China and Castro's Cuba for human rights violations?

Where are those Reaganites, where are the men of the O.S.S., who parachuted into occupied France and who after WW2 fathered the CIA?

Have we become do degenerate that we'll sacrifice decent and morality on the alter of supposed safety?

Jesus, Steve, why don't you love the America -- the decent, moral, upright America -- that I love?
posted by orthogonality at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2006 [11 favorites]


Alternate headline: "Senators prefer the safety and wellbeing of Americans to the safety and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill us all."

Alternate universe: "Bush captures Bin Laden and apologizes for lying about WMDs."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2006


A disgrace.
posted by jokeefe at 9:11 PM on September 21, 2006


I figure they thought they were torturing all of us now with their constant stream of batshitinsane decisions, bullshit talking points and utter madness that they might as well just go ahead and legitimise the process.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:12 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


George Bush is a powerful man.
The most powerfulf man on earth.
But he is not a man of wisdom.
posted by notreally at 9:12 PM on September 21, 2006


is there a sudden problem with our judicial system that we can no longer hope to convict people who, whatever name you wish to call them, have committed criminal acts against our country?

Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts". If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve.

Alternate alternate headline: "Senators and President now allow the torture of American Soldiers in all future conflicts."

And you think that all our enemies now abide by the Geneva Convention when they capture our soldiers? Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:13 PM on September 21, 2006


and then people who speak up for such measures have the nerve to call themselves conservatives ... this isn't the kind of conservatism we used to have in this country

You're right. This isn't the conservatism we used to have. This is new conservatism.
posted by bob sarabia at 9:13 PM on September 21, 2006


.
posted by Hicksu at 9:14 PM on September 21, 2006


And you think torturing our enemies will keep us safe?
posted by spaltavian at 9:15 PM on September 21, 2006


Torture is wrong.
posted by cytherea at 9:15 PM on September 21, 2006


you'll get what you deserve.

Now this part, and this part only, I can agree with.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:16 PM on September 21, 2006


steven's right. now the war on terror will only last 20 years, instead of 30!

I expect this war to last about 50 years. But I'd really rather minimize the number of mass slaughter attacks that happen to us during those five decades if that's possible. Effective interrogation of prisoners who are involved in planning such attacks against us will unquestionably help -- as it has already helped.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:16 PM on September 21, 2006


And you think that all our enemies now abide by the Geneva Convention when they capture our soldiers?

So we torture out of motives of revenge. Nice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 PM on September 21, 2006


Let's clear something up: this bill does not legalize "torture". To claim that it does is a lie -- and a straw man.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:17 PM on September 21, 2006


The abduction and torture of an innocent man
posted by homunculus at 9:18 PM on September 21, 2006


Wow, I can't believe you're arguing that, SCDB. You don't think we should hold ourselves to a higher standard? Why do you think they were our enemies?

In two posts, you have summed up the entire collapse of the American Experiment. We have completely lost our way. We don't stand for anything anymore.
posted by Malor at 9:18 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts". If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:13 PM AEST on September 22

Hey Steven! I hear that a lot of people who are diagnosed as insane are likely to commit murder. Now, I don't like what you say and as such I don't like you so I reckon you must be one of those insane types and as such, I reccommend you go to Gitmo for an indefinite period of time because you might kill an American if you're left to go about exercising free will and your flawed judgement.

Don't like that idea? Then shut the fuck up.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:18 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


So Mr. Beste, it's a free-for-all is what you're saying: everybody's free to torture anybody they feel at war with, and anybody who says "Geneva Convention!" is an addlepated pantywaist? Screw trying to improve the world, let's just shit all over it!

Please find yourself another country to be part of.
posted by davy at 9:19 PM on September 21, 2006


I vote in every fucking election, but if these bozos go along with sanctioning torture....on my dime: I pay taxes...well, I'm wondering about this system. Diebold aside.
posted by kozad at 9:20 PM on September 21, 2006


So we torture out of motives of revenge. Nice.

That isn't what I said. The argument that "If we do this now, then it'll happen to our soldiers in future" is specious because none of our enemies abide by those rules now, and they won't abide by them in future irrespective of what we do.

This bill does not increase the danger to our soldiers because our enemies already torture them -- and I mean real torture, not the kind of thing that this bill legalizes.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:20 PM on September 21, 2006


We are all good Soviets now.
posted by caddis at 9:22 PM on September 21, 2006


From the cnn story:
The bill also expands legal protection for CIA agents, military personnel and U.S. government employees by prohibiting detainees from invoking the Geneva Conventions in court.
So ...why does this bill even have to give the president the right to interpret the Conventions, if detainees can't ever invoke them in the first place? If I'm reading this right this basically makes the Geneva Conventions moot for anyone detained by the U.S. -- if it wasn't already...
posted by rsanheim at 9:22 PM on September 21, 2006


So Mr. Beste, it's a free-for-all is what you're saying: everybody's free to torture anybody they feel at war with, and anybody who says "Geneva Convention!" is an addlepated pantywaist? Screw trying to improve the world, let's just shit all over it!

And I didn't say that, either. But maybe the reason why is that I've actually read the Geneva Convention and I know what it says. One of the critical parts of it is that it says explicitly that those who do not abide by it are not protected by it.

Hey Steven! I hear that a lot of people who are diagnosed as insane are likely to commit murder. Now, I don't like what you say and as such I don't like you so I reckon you must be one of those insane types and as such, I reccommend you go to Gitmo for an indefinite period of time because you might kill an American if you're left to go about exercising free will and your flawed judgement.

And anyone who tries to operate criminal justice as if it was a war is also wrong.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:23 PM on September 21, 2006


Comrade, this prisoner is for torture you.
posted by caddis at 9:23 PM on September 21, 2006


Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts".

do you mean to say that conspiracy to commit criminal acts is not a crime? ... that's wrong

If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve.

i was under the impression that our police and soldiers do in fact have guns for gunfights ... i was also under the impression that congress has not yet passed a declaration of war, but mere resolutions authorizing vague actions against vaguely defined enemies, such as the noun "terror"

And you think that all our enemies now abide by the Geneva Convention when they capture our soldiers?

they don't ... which gives us a certain p r advantage that we have now pissed away

i still want to know why these people can't be tried in the criminal or, if we must, the military courts that have served us well in this country for over 200 years
posted by pyramid termite at 9:24 PM on September 21, 2006


This law is pretty disgusting. Our legislative branch of government is really incredibly spineless. With votes or with torches and pitchforks, some housecleaning is due.
posted by mullingitover at 9:25 PM on September 21, 2006


Oh and by the way, every Senator who voted for such a tyrannical and immoral idea should be voted out, along with every Senator and Congressperson who voted in favor of the Patriot Act and its ilk and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you must have a governmentat least try to make it understand what "liberty and justice for all" might mean.
posted by davy at 9:25 PM on September 21, 2006


One of the critical parts of it is that it says explicitly that those who do not abide by it are not protected by it.

I better make this more clear: The Geneva Convention says that if signatories fight against those who are not signatories and who do not follow the Convention, then the signatories are released from their obligation to obey the convention and they are not considered to be committing war crimes in that case.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:25 PM on September 21, 2006


The ideal Metafilter post permits Metafilter readers to feel smugly superior.
You don't say.

Some of the slower kids in the class might be surprised to learn that some new methods have been developed for gathering intelligence since the Spanish inquisition that are more effective than torture.

Was that smug enough?

But seriously, if you believe in the christian concept of God, You should tremble in fear at the thought of answering for supporting the abuse and humiliation of another human being. There's a reason why Christ wasn't killed in a car crash or a swimming accident.
posted by 2sheets at 9:27 PM on September 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


Alternate headline: "Senators prefer the safety and wellbeing of Americans to the safety and wellbeing of terrorists who want to kill us all."

Unless they're Americans accused of being terrorists, with or without evidence. Then fuck 'em!
posted by delmoi at 9:27 PM on September 21, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste: what's the difference between torturing* an American soldier and torturing anyone else? why aren't 'they' allowed to do it if 'we' are? what sets American apart for having the right to but be exempt from torture? would humanity not be better as a whole if there just weren't torture? we're fighting to eradicate terror, why not eradicate torture as well?

*my usage of this term encompasses acts both prohibited and accepted by the bill under discussion, anything that can be considered an "alternative interrogation procedure".
posted by carsonb at 9:28 PM on September 21, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste is a smart man.
But he is not a man of wisdom.
posted by notreally at 9:28 PM on September 21, 2006


Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts". If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve.

The judicial system recognizes conspiracy to commit murder.

This is not about bringing a knife to a gunfight; abusing prisoners is bringing a baseball bat to the senior center.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:28 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Jesus, Steve. Didn't we both grow up on movies about heroic American POWs insisting Nazis observe the Geneva Conventions? Didn't Reagan condemn the USSR as an Evil Empire in part because of Lubyanka and the Gulag?

Don't you know, everything changed on 9/11. NOW SHIT YOUR PANTS IN FEAR LIKE A PATRIOTIC AMERICAN.
posted by delmoi at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by interrobang at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2006 [12 favorites]


we're fighting to eradicate terror, why not eradicate torture as well?

I take this one back; I know the answer: we need torture to eradicate terror. it's terrifying, I know, but true.
posted by carsonb at 9:30 PM on September 21, 2006


The Geneva Convention says that if signatories fight against those who are not signatories and who do not follow the Convention, then the signatories are released from their obligation to obey the convention and they are not considered to be committing war crimes in that case.

but there are still international laws dealing with crimes against humanity ... and torture could be considered that
posted by pyramid termite at 9:30 PM on September 21, 2006


Effective interrogation of prisoners who are involved in planning such attacks against us will unquestionably help -- as it has already helped.

Do you have any evidence that what you call "effective interrogation", and what others here call torture, has helped prevent attacks against us? Attacks that would otherwise have had a serious chance of being carried out and doing real damage? Can you link to it, or at least cite something I could look up? Because so far, all I have on that is the word of the President, which experience has shown to be worthless.

(I mean this as a serious question. I'm obviously pretty skeptical about this claim, and, yes, predisposed to be disgusted by people like you, but I'm also prepared to look at what evidence you have to offer.)
posted by moss at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2006


Absolutely nauseating...
posted by speug at 9:32 PM on September 21, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste, you have some serious homework to do; namely, you have a lot to learn on the subject from career professionals in the military and intelligence community:

• Why Torture Does Not Work, by Brigader General David R. Irvine, a retired US Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years.

• Military, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Officers Opposing Torture, including insight on the uselessness of torture from former military officials such as Rear Admiral John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General for the US Navy.

• CIA Veterans Condemn Torture. Includes commentary from Burton L. Gerber, a decorated, 39-year CIA operative.

Torture doesn't work, torture doesn't save lives, torture doesn't protect soldiers, no matter how much you parrot talking points you overheard on LGF or FOX News.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:33 PM on September 21, 2006 [10 favorites]


I'm reading through the text of the compromise bill, trying to figure out whether it would ban waterboarding. If we assume that waterboarding is permissible under current law, then any basis for banning it under this bill would seem to have to come from two changes described its definition of "serious mental pain or suffering."

First, current law seems to ban "severe mental pain or suffering", and that's changed to "serious mental pain or suffering", which would seem to be a lower threshold, though still a vague one. Second, a ban on "prolonged mental harm" is changed to a ban on "serious and non-transitory mental harm (which need not be prolonged)".

I'd guess that something like waterboarding could still be considered "transitory" mental harm, if it would be considered mental harm at all. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed only lasted 2.5 minutes under it, and that was apparently the CIA's toughest prisoner.

As for whether it would count as "serious" suffering, its impossible to say, and that's probably intentional. If the sensation of drowning doesn't count as "severe", its hard to know what any of these adjectives mean.
posted by gsteff at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2006


Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts". If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve.

Yes "not yet committed criminal acts". "Alternative interrogation techniques". Innocent. Torture. Orwell would be proud, and by proud I mean disgusted.
posted by delmoi at 9:34 PM on September 21, 2006


But seriously, if you believe in the christian concept of God, You should tremble in fear at the thought of answering for supporting the abuse and humiliation of another human being. There's a reason why Christ wasn't killed in a car crash or a swimming accident.

Good point. Saint Peter will be busy dispatching tortureres to the other place, and perhaps appeasers too. Remember, Jesus never said the ends justify the means, which seems to be the Christian conservative motto these days. It's pretty funny to think that perhaps more of them will: a) go to Hell, b) miss the rapture, c) fail to attain divinity, c) all of the above, than many apostates, agonstics, non-believers, atheists, etc (if of course you believe enough to even care about the humor of this).

Ralph Reed ain't never seeing no Heaven. You pick the reason why.
posted by caddis at 9:35 PM on September 21, 2006


I keep getting the feeling that I'm living in Brazil.

The movie.
posted by jokeefe at 9:35 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


"One of the critical parts of it is that it says explicitly that those who do not abide by it are not protected by it."

And the critical part in question is common article 3, which provides for a minimum standard of treatment for anyone taken into custody. And we founded a nation on the concept that men are born with inalienable rights, just by virtue of being human. Pull your head out of your ass, man.
posted by 2sheets at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2006


Please find yourself another country to be part of.

Oh here's to the land you've torn out the heart of.
posted by scottreynen at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2006


which gives us a certain p r advantage

I think it comes back to whether or not the leadership believes in the existence of God, or the goodness thereof. Lots of people go to church and serve in the military and at the end of the day, the only thing they believe in is the state.
posted by nervousfritz at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2006


This bill does not increase the danger to our soldiers because our enemies already torture them -- and I mean real torture, not the kind of thing that this bill legalizes..

Actually be for Abu Gahreb most Americans captured in Iraq were returned alive. But you're right, whether or not we decriminalize torture on paper probably won't make much of a difference at this point.
posted by delmoi at 9:38 PM on September 21, 2006


This bill does not increase the danger to our soldiers because our enemies already torture them -- and I mean real torture, not the kind of thing that this bill legalizes.

Can you provide even one example? I don't recall a single U.S. soldier being captured and tortured by "terrorists."
posted by three blind mice at 9:39 PM on September 21, 2006


I think it comes back to whether or not the leadership believes in the existence of God, or the goodness thereof.

well, they do ... it's just that they have this peculiar notion that god is just like them, just better at it

it's a common theological mistake
posted by pyramid termite at 9:40 PM on September 21, 2006


Den Beste, would you be willing to undergo these non-torture torture techniques yourself? I mean, by doing so you might convince so of the waverers that it really isn't really so bad.

Will you do this, for our safely?

Would you let it be done to your mom, or your son?

If not, do you really think Muslims don't love their familes as much as we do?
posted by orthogonality at 9:40 PM on September 21, 2006


I don't recall a single U.S. soldier being captured and tortured by "terrorists."

i don't know one way or another about this "war", but it's a well-known fact that american prisoners in vietnam and korea were tortured
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on September 21, 2006


SCDB: You have bought into the fundamental idea that it's a war. I can't believe you fell for that framing. Trying to eradicate terrorism with soldiers is like trying to kill ants with army boots. It's declaring war against a tactic.

It has to be dealt with through police and investigations, not war and occupation and torture. We are, through our actions, turning what should have been a police investigation against a few loonies into a wholesale war on Islam. We will not win that (unnecessary) war. Trying will bankrupt us.

And, in the process, we are discarding the values that we seek to protect. We are torturing innocent people. They haven't been convicted of a crime. Someone in the government just doesn't like them. You think it's okay to authorized 'enhanced interrogation techniques' against innocent people.

If you're Joe Iraqi on the ground, and you know that the Americans have now decided that they can officially torture you whenever they want, and you have no recourse whatsoever.... are you going to support the occupying power?

How can the Iraqis see us as anything other than a malevolent force? How can ANYONE?
posted by Malor at 9:42 PM on September 21, 2006 [5 favorites]


would you be willing to undergo these non-torture torture techniques yourself?

i have a better question ... would he be willing to perform them himself?

and what kind of effect does he think doing something like that would have on him?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on September 21, 2006


And you think that all our enemies now abide by the Geneva Convention when they capture our soldiers? Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.

do you really want to run that argument? "they started it"? I for one desperately wanted to believe that we were better than that.

The america that stood as a bastion of progress, justice, and human rights didn't torture people. This new america *SHOULD* get blown the fuck up.

How do you not see that we're no better than any despot we've crippled in the past? Stop and look! free speech zones - torture - secret prisons. fuck.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:44 PM on September 21, 2006


The best part will be looking back to the days when we had any kind of moral authority in the minds of, you know, everyone else on the planet. This actually is a major victory for conservatives, since they're manufacturing "Good ol' Days" that everyone will yearn for.

I forget who said it, but it's really true in this case: We're going over the top now, everyone hold on to the bar...
posted by mullingitover at 9:47 PM on September 21, 2006


jokeefe: I keep getting the feeling that I'm living in Brazil.

The funny thing was, you never actually saw any terrosists in the movie. Given the spectacular reliability of the consumer goods and the high-caliber workmanship of the contractors, I came away with the thought that the "terrorism" consisted of the government's inability to acknowledge its own incompetence.
posted by cytherea at 9:49 PM on September 21, 2006


"The Geneva Convention says that if signatories fight against those who are not signatories and who do not follow the Convention, then the signatories are released from their obligation to obey the convention and they are not considered to be committing war crimes in that case."

well, now that you put it that way, lets bust out the power drills. No one deserves to be tortured - for any reason. Further more, its not something healthy humans do. You're willingness to back this stinks of fear and maybe illness.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:50 PM on September 21, 2006


Isn't this one of the issues over which we had a nice Revolution? Secret evidence, disappearances, torture ...
posted by adipocere at 9:50 PM on September 21, 2006


Let's clear something up: this bill does not legalize "torture". To claim that it does is a lie -- and a straw man.

You're right. There are actually no quotes.


I'm reading through the text of the compromise bill, trying to figure out whether it would ban waterboarding. If we assume that waterboarding is permissible under current law, then any basis for banning it under this bill would seem to have to come from two changes described its definition of "serious mental pain or suffering."

Water boarding is not legal under current law, but was legal under the presidents "interpretation" of the law before the Hamdan decision, and that's why the laws need to change, to make things legal that were illegal before, but done anyway.

I think. All of this is rather hard to follow, beyond the obvious fact that republicans have all gone out of their damn minds.
posted by delmoi at 9:50 PM on September 21, 2006


You may be correct about the free speech zones, torture and secret prisons but we still have unequivocally fair elections without gerrymandering or dubious vote counts - right?
posted by speug at 9:51 PM on September 21, 2006


Hey, some guy wrote something on a blog!
posted by LarryC at 9:52 PM on September 21, 2006


Torture is the work of cowards and bullies. If America is willing to compromise its soul to the degree that it does not ride these vipers out of DC on a rail in November then it deserves whatever it gets. Utterly disgraceful and pathetic.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:53 PM on September 21, 2006


fine... but if you do a morally questionable thing for the right reasons, you are much more likely to do a morally questionable thing for the wrong reasons. Who is guarding the guards? Who is watching the watchers? You don't resort to bad guy tactics and get to call yourself good guys.

Why can't we apply these same things to the general public? If the police feel that you might commit a crime why not let them bust down your door and haul your ass in and apply whatever tactics they feel is necessary to extract a confession out of you?

We have admitted secret prisons, we have interrogations that are analogous to torture, we have a government that literally kidnaps people and torture them.. and they don't even get it right!

Steven C. Den Beste we are not even talking people who are involved! It is no good saying "It won't happen to me" because it just might. Would you be so forgiving if you where shipped off to Syria under false pretense, no due process, just disappeared because you may have information? You are wrong Steven. You are on the wrong side of the argument, the argument that advocates intentional systematic harm on individuals who may have no say or knowledge of what their interrogators want.

Even those who mean us harm deserve better treatment then this. Why? Becasue we are not them. To do this is to become what we are fighting. We do not live by the rule of an eye for an eye. Rapests are not raped, becasue we are better them them.

Why not be as worked up about traffic deaths, that kills more people then terrorism, second hand smoke... your position is indefensible and shameful.

You
Are
Wrong
posted by edgeways at 9:54 PM on September 21, 2006


Isn't this one of the issues over which we had a nice Revolution? Secret evidence, disappearances, torture ...

No. Most of the laws and protections were already (and still) coded in British law, particularly the rules of evidence and so forth. And we decided to keep them and add more.
posted by delmoi at 9:55 PM on September 21, 2006


But Steven, how can this bill any way make U.S. citizens more safe when it can only increase international hostility towards the United States? As orthogonality pointed out, the U.S. has prided itself on its role as a world leader in terms of respect for human rights. I'm not saying that we've always been great at it, but at least ideologically the U.S. has always thought of itself as 'above' torture. Doesn't pulling back from that ideal now, as we're apparently attempting to 'spread Democracy' to people who are not too excited about many American beliefs, give us one less leg to stand on in the battle for those 'hearts and minds' we so desperately need?

And what exactly constitutes a 'terrorist'? Someone who acts against the government? Criticizes the government? Is protest a form of terrorism? Please excuse my hyperbole, but broad definitions can be applied closer to home than you think.
posted by anarcation at 9:55 PM on September 21, 2006


Steven C. Den Beste has great purple nipples. He's also good at taking the bait. Look how he fights for freedom without a shirt. Come one, come all. Listen to the word of the man who is tricked into giving the occupiers of this country permission to punish at will. If the world seems upside down, it’s because he’s grabbing his ankles. What a man. What a great fat man of a man.
posted by luckypozzo at 9:55 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, by the way. I'm not sure if you noticed this but only the republican senators have caved so far. The Democrats could still mount a filibuster, if they wanted too.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 PM on September 21, 2006


Very bad.

They have loose interpretations of terrorists, mind you.
posted by rougy at 10:02 PM on September 21, 2006


Torture is a straw man. Irrelevant.

These fuckwit Senators gave our fuckwit President the authority to interpret an international treaty as he sees fit.

It just so happens he'll USE this authority to torture the shit out of people. But that's the least of the problem.

The bigger part of this is that we uphold our six year tradition of wiping our asses with the very documents which define our nation and it's part in the world.

We uphold our six year tradition of giving the finger to the rest of planet Earth.

What is left of this country that is sacred? This administration does what it wants, when it wants, because it wants to. It answers to no one, cares about nothing but it's own ends, and goes to bed at night with a smirk and a clean conscience.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this country has become Eric Cartman.

And everyone should be fucking terrified.
posted by JWright at 10:04 PM on September 21, 2006 [7 favorites]


Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts".

I see - was that 'guilty until proven innocent'?

Minority Report?

Thought crimes?

There have been at least a dozen well documented cases of innocent people being 'captured and confined' within the last 5 years.

How many more? With, or without the whip?

It took less than 10 years to turn America into a complete meaningless shell of it's potential and dump 200 years of history into the toilet.

It's like the neighbourhood bully who never quite grew up, stumbling around the local watering hole - a complete laughingstock to those around him, yet they can't say anything lest his rage be directed against them.

For those that are willing to trade liberty for safety - are you really that blind that you cannot see 'they' have already won?

Life (TM), Liberty (RIP) and the Pursuit of Happiness (Pfizer).

Keep the dream alive boys.
posted by jkaczor at 10:04 PM on September 21, 2006


But maybe the reason why is that I've actually read the Geneva Convention and I know what it says. One of the critical parts of it is that it says explicitly that those who do not abide by it are not protected by it.

And unlike you, I've actually read the Geneva Conventions and Hamdan, and I know that in part IV (pages 66-68) of the majority opinion, Justice Stevens held that all the protections of Common Article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention apply to members of Al Qaeda captured abroad, you ignorant twit.
posted by gsteff at 10:04 PM on September 21, 2006


Advocating the torture of POWs (and suspected terrorists) is about as unAmerican and unChristian as it gets. I'm not Christian but I keep hearing our president blabber about his faith guiding him, did he only read the Old Testament or something?

But I am an American and this absolutely fucking disgusts me.

BushCo should be held for crimes against humanity.

Torture is what the enemy does, its why they are the enemy.

We are supposed to be the good guys.

Good guys do not torture. The enemy tortures.

We hold long trials and then execute people. It makes for better television. And its not creepy to have a hot court reporter telling us all the action.
posted by fenriq at 10:06 PM on September 21, 2006


[T]hese are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts".

So, you believe in pre-crime, eh? Let's hope all those precogs guiding our glorious WoT efforts never send a little ball down the chute engraved with "SCDB."
posted by rob511 at 10:09 PM on September 21, 2006


Republicans: The Torture Party
posted by rougy at 10:09 PM on September 21, 2006


The Democrats could still mount a filibuster, if they wanted too.

part of the Playbook, part of the Playbook. See SDB's fuckwittery above.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:11 PM on September 21, 2006


One last thing.

I don't know about you - but if someone was electrocuting portions of my body, waterboarding, whatever - I would probably say anything to make them stop....

"aarrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... yes - you betchya, the baby formula is the key - we were going to use our secret knowledge of alchemy to transmorgiphy that formula into a highly explosive substance aarrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... - hell, you want highly explosive, you might want to check the kids diaper. aarrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... Fuck that, my MOTHER is behind it all, yeah - thats the ticket - she's the fucking mastermind - aarrrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh .... no wait, it was really the Pope - he has alot of nasty things to say lately."
posted by jkaczor at 10:12 PM on September 21, 2006



posted by davy at 10:14 PM on September 21, 2006


"I would probably say anything to make them stop....

That may well be the whole point of it.

Krugman said that they're doing it just to prove they can.

I agree.

They are turning the executive branch into the branch of privilege.

The “none of your business” government that the republicons so love.
posted by rougy at 10:15 PM on September 21, 2006


Do it to Julia! Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don't care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones. Not me! Julia! Not me!
posted by cytherea at 10:16 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


SCDB has obviously left the thread.
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on September 21, 2006


And anyone who tries to operate criminal justice as if it was a war is also wrong.

Anyone who tries to launch a war to fight what is essentially a criminal problem is even wronger.

>>So we torture out of motives of revenge. Nice.

>That isn't what I said.


This is the only possible explaination for what you said. Now look, you're pretty good at playing the "smart guy" but you must be dumb as shit if you think torture works. It doesn't. It delivers bad intelligence. I mean, not that the current US administration gives a shit about the quality of intelligence - that was established some time ago. But nonetheless, if we assume that someone out there does want good intelligence to use to prevent terrorist attacks, torture is not the way to get it. I would have thought you'd have known that.

It creates new enemies.

It erodes your nation's moral ground.

It gives the "terrorists" grounds to appeal their convictions - evidence obtained under duress - as recently happened in Australia with Jack Thomas.

All these things are the exact opposite of what one would assume you would want if you were actually interesting in combating terrorism. The only possible reason we have left, for why Steven C. Den Beste supports torture, is as revenge.

Revenge, one would note, against people who, as you yourself admit, may not have even committed any act of war against your country. Catching people before they commit crimes is a great idea. Then you deal with them appropriately, with proper, civilized legal process. It's called conspiracy. Go look it up. If your country can't even manage that anymore, Steven, you've got greater problems to worry about than "terror".
posted by Jimbob at 10:21 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


"At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
posted by Malor at 10:21 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Torture is what the enemy does, its why they are the enemy."

Actually, they're the enemy because they oppose U.S. control of Asia's oil and U.S. support for Israel.
posted by davy at 10:23 PM on September 21, 2006


What would John Wayne have to say about that?

In America, you have to put it in those terms.

White hat, Black hat.

I personally think that they're using the captives for behavioral, operant-conditioning experiments.

Human guinea pigs.

Maybe some underground sadist loops.

Rich people are weird.
posted by rougy at 10:23 PM on September 21, 2006


Somewhere, Jack Bauer is laughing his ass off.
posted by black bile at 10:25 PM on September 21, 2006


Hey - is this 'border fence' really to keep people out? Or is it to keep 'em in?

It's not like there aren't already a few 'relocation camps', right?

So short-sited the voting (or non-voting, or 'diebold' voting) public is...

Wait - how many people are still displaced by Katrina? Who would they vote for, will they be able to get their 'voter id' card?
posted by jkaczor at 10:27 PM on September 21, 2006


Somewhere, Jack Bauer is laughing his ass off.

Not to derail, but funnily enough, there are a few episodes of 24 where torture doesn't work out quite the way its proponents intend.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2006


Doesn't giving the president the ultimate authority to interpret the law blatantly violate separation of powers?
posted by oaf at 10:28 PM on September 21, 2006


Now look, you're pretty good at playing the "smart guy" but you must be dumb as shit if you think torture works.

Some people say it works, others say it does not. No one has ever done controlled studies, and no one ever will. At least not in the legitimate scientific community.

Anyone discussing the efficacy of torture is on shaky ground. And anyway, if torture did work, it still shouldn't be used.
posted by delmoi at 10:29 PM on September 21, 2006


Anyone discussing the efficacy of torture is on shaky ground. And anyway, if torture did work, it still shouldn't be used.

You're right of course, delmoi, but I was attempting to approach Steven's warped philosophy from all angles. He doesn't seem to care about the "not hurting people" perspective.
posted by Jimbob at 10:32 PM on September 21, 2006


Y'know what I'd support - if the 'powers that be' put a few billion dollars into MRI, 'mind-reading'.

It may not be exact - (though neither is torture) but it could be a solid, scientific re-investment that could have lots of potential spinoff applications. Just like the cold-war drove the miniaturization of electronics, or the 'space-race'...

Then, at least America could still have the 'high moral ground'.
posted by jkaczor at 10:34 PM on September 21, 2006


Then, at least America could still have the 'high moral ground'.

But it is really too late for that. It will take 20-50 years to regain that, especially in the Muslim world. The ends does not justify the means.
posted by jkaczor at 10:36 PM on September 21, 2006


No one has ever done controlled studies, and no one ever will. At least not in the legitimate scientific community.

For lack of controlled studies that experimental ethics would never allow — in the same way that the legitimate scientific community would never allow a second Tuskegee — would primary experience of those in the military and intelligence community be an acceptable substitute, insofar as judging the utility of data obtained through torture?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:38 PM on September 21, 2006


Congress is selling us all down the river. So what else is new? This has been a corporate oligarchy parading itself as a democratic republic for decades now. People are acting surprised this is happening now? Par for the course.

Inalienable rights are not only for Americans. They're not birthrights of the rich and powerful. From the lowest child starving in a third world country to the fattest fittest babe with a silver spoon in its mouth, every human being is equal in the eyes of (insert your god or lack thereof here). Fate or God or whatever-you-call-it DOES NOT TAKE SIDES!

We do. S/he/it doesn't. Why? Cuz it doesn't have to.

Taking another's life is playing god, whether you're putting a man to death or swatting a fly. Whether a cowardly bastard is an extremist muslim or an extremist Christian, whether it's with guns, nukes, or a fountain pen, threatening physical harm to a fellow human being in order to scare them from exercising or even believing in their inalienable rights is a crime against humanity. A crime against whatever made humanity. Be it divine intervention or mathematical probability; muck with the equation is being a part of the problem, not the solution.

Bush & Bin Laden are both equally culpable, and those of us who encourage this behavior are also guilty. You can't cash in freedom and expect security. Such security is an illusion.

"freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world
freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world
freedom from want — everywhere in the world
freedom from fear — anywhere in the world."


These are not American ideals. They are absolute ones. They are self-evident. They are non-transferrable. Anyone who seeks to take power from others for their own selfish ends, by hook or by crook, is the true enemy.

This is not about being Christian, Jewish or Muslim. This is not about being American or being Iranian. This is not about being able to harm combatants because they fall outside the Geneva Convention, or any other sign you want to hang around someone's neck to try and say they're anything other than human. Anything other than equal.

This is about being a slave to someone else's control, or being free to live your life without fear. Security without freedom? HA! Without freedom, there is no security.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:41 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


When do we get to the part where y'all threaten to move to Canada?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:41 PM on September 21, 2006


would primary experience of those in the military and intelligence community be an acceptable substitute, insofar as judging the utility of data obtained through torture?

Well, I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to dig up someone who said that it did work, if you looked. The problem is that people tend to only pay attention to stuff they already agree with, or supports their position. I think it might generate a lot of bad data if done improperly. But what if you really experimented with it? It seems like you can get humans to do quite a bit if you push them in the right way, it's hard to believe that telling the truth is one thing that you can't get them to do.

But from what I've heard, the U.S. isn't doing it a very good job. I also don't know very much about what they're doing.
posted by delmoi at 10:45 PM on September 21, 2006


davy: Actually, they're the enemy because they oppose U.S. control of Asia's oil and U.S. support for Israel.

Also because they're Islamic fundamentalist nutjobs. The people who simply have the legitimate grievances you mention protest and speak out. The 'enemy'- the ones hijacking and bombing- exploit these grievances for their own ends.
posted by spaltavian at 10:47 PM on September 21, 2006


(We'll take ya, eh!)

As to my 'right' to comment on this - well:

- You've 'detained' a couple Canadians (and had 'em tortured by proxy)
- 90% of my media intake is American
- My current leader is doing his best to be Bush's new Tony Blair
- I work for a US-based company
- I travel by air to the US several times a month.
- If your current leadership refuses to recognise international law, treaty agreements and the UN - it impacts everyone who 'has' to do business with you.
posted by jkaczor at 10:49 PM on September 21, 2006


Also because they're Islamic fundamentalist nutjobs. The people who simply have the legitimate grievances you mention protest and speak out. The 'enemy'- the ones hijacking and bombing- exploit these grievances for their own ends.

Which they are you even talking about? Bin Laden thought that if they attacked the U.S. he could get us sucked into a guerrilla war against Muslims which would topple the autocratic governments in the region and turn them into Islamic theocracies. So far things have gone pretty well for him, no?
posted by delmoi at 10:51 PM on September 21, 2006


"When do we get to the part where y'all threaten to move to Canada?"

Oh like that'll help? When the religious zealots force their predictions of armageddon into coming true and the world's burning from nuclear explosions then freezing from nuclear winter? Oh yeah, I'll have a summer home in Ontario. Look me up some time.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:52 PM on September 21, 2006


Seventeen million allied soldiers died in World War II to keep fascist monsters who love torture out of power.

Now we elect them to office.

Twenty-five thousand American soldiers died fighting for liberty and freedom during the American Revolution. Now, cowards like Steve Den Beste, who don't even have the guts to fight for their freedoms (how many tours have you done, Steve?), sell out our very basic humanity for their craven cowardice. People who don't even rise to the level of the shoe bomber now run our country.

In a just world, cowardly traitors like Steve would be openly mocked. In our world, they rule the world's most powerful government. And this is why we are doomed as a species.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:52 PM on September 21, 2006 [5 favorites]


Islamic fundamentalist nutjobs. Good one. Did you have to pick that one up at the Party HQ, or do they deliver now?
posted by luckypozzo at 10:52 PM on September 21, 2006


Bin Laden thought that if they attacked the U.S. he could get us sucked into a guerrilla war against Muslims which would topple the autocratic governments in the region and turn them into Islamic theocracies. So far things have gone pretty well for him, no?

Where did I indicate that things haven't gone well for him? I said he exploited legitmate grievances- like those against the US hegemony in the region- to reach his own ends.
posted by spaltavian at 10:54 PM on September 21, 2006


I better make this more clear: The Geneva Convention says that if signatories fight against those who are not signatories and who do not follow the Convention, then the signatories are released from their obligation to obey the convention and they are not considered to be committing war crimes in that case

I didn't see this when I commented previously, or I'd have responded to it too. Lets consider this claim. There's four Geneva Conventions:
  1. Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field
  2. Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea
  3. Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War
  4. Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War
If you look at those titles, or read Hamdan and the lower court opinions on it, or are remotely familiar with the current legal debate over detainee treatment, it will be obvious that the relevent convention for the captured "enemy combatants" is the third, the one about prisoners of war. Fortunately, even if none of those things are true, it doesn't really matter, because the first four articles of all four conventions are the same.

The line you're thinking of is almost certainly the third paragraph of Article 2:
Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations. They shall furthermore be bound by the Convention in relation to the said Power, if the latter accepts and applies the provisions thereof.
That bit states that if there's several parties to a conflict, some of which are signatories and some of which aren't, the signatories are still bound to apply the convention to each other. It thus implicitly states that the signatories aren't bound to apply the conventions in their "relations" with the other "powers."

Unfortunately, article 2 only applies to conflicts between nations, because article 3 explicitly attempts to define the protections available during other conflicts. It lists protections that must be given to "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities"; in other words, those who are not currently actually fighting against the U.S., which includes the prisoners. Those are the protections (a more limited set of protections than those described in article 2) that the administration initially resisted applying, that Hamdan says must be applied, and that the legislation linked in the original post is explicitly attempting (or pretending to attempt) to guarantee, as you would know if you'd actually read the proposed bill, which you haven't.

If you have citations that contradict this, either from the conventions themselves, from Hamdan itself, or from some judicial opinion that you think at least partially covers some situation that Hamdan doesn't address, I'd appreciate seeing them. But I think its far more likely that you're full of shit, pretending to be more knowlegable than you are.
posted by gsteff at 10:56 PM on September 21, 2006 [3 favorites]


I'm a little confused... first the sky was going to fall because of gay marriage, but now the sky is going to fall because of a tribunals bill?
posted by Krrrlson at 10:58 PM on September 21, 2006


Did you miss, luckypozzo, where I separated those with legitimate grievances- (meaning I think the US has done awful things in the Middle East)- from those who have exploited that resement to convice people to do things like 9/11? Do you think bin Laden isn't a Islamic fundamentalist nutjob?

As for 'party HQ', which party would that be? You seem to imply that I'm a Republican, where I most certainly am not. Perhaps you didn't read my post fully?
posted by spaltavian at 10:59 PM on September 21, 2006


Can you provide even one example? I don't recall a single U.S. soldier being captured and tortured by "terrorists."

Actually, there were two soldiers captured and tortured a while ago. Link to Ogrish post, video included (NSFW)

It was disgusting and horrific. But we were supposed to be better than our enemies. Good to know that, now officially, we are not.
posted by bob sarabia at 11:02 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


To make myself perfectly clear: those whom are responsible for acts of terror in their quest to establish Islamic states in the Mideast are 'nutjobs' for their wanton violence upon civilians, and are fundamentalists of the Islamic variety. (I assure you I have contempt to fundamentalists of the Christian variety as well, if this was the source of your condescension.)

I made a point of not including those who simply object to Western, and specifically American, malfeasance in the region, and/or wish to reform their society and who go about it in non-violent ways.
posted by spaltavian at 11:05 PM on September 21, 2006


America, I hardly knew ye.
posted by papakwanz at 11:07 PM on September 21, 2006


"When do we get to the part where y'all threaten to move to Canada?"
This is the part where I remind you that I'm not a pacifist and wouldn't consider letting some cheap hoods run me off from my birth right just because they want to wipe their asses with the constitution.
posted by 2sheets at 11:10 PM on September 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sorry, while I find peoples' appeals to morality and / or fate to be charming, you've got to be kidding me if you think it's going to save you if they come knocking on your door. They may not be knocking now (and I don't equate this re-defining of executive powers to be equivalent to an imminent attack on my person), but I'm not going to go Pollyanna and assume I've got immunity.

Your best defense from both the "terrorists" and your government is enshrined nicely in the 2nd amendment: lock and fucking load. I'm neither a violent person nor an easily frightened person - I say this from the perspective of cold, hard rationality. Keep that shit away from the kids, though.

If that's not good enough for you, I hope your faith is strong enough to get you through your time at GITMO, because you just volunteered.
posted by rockabilly_pete at 11:12 PM on September 21, 2006


I'm a little confused... first the sky was going to fall because of gay marriage, but now the sky is going to fall because of a tribunals bill?

It's obvious you're quite confused.
posted by delmoi at 11:18 PM on September 21, 2006


I think he is fake nutjob. I don't think he's crazy. The "party line" (and I apologize if I implied that you are a Republican when in fact you’re not), i.e., the mass media line, what the average American in Peoria thinks, is that bin Laden is irrational and acting within the blinders of his religion like an angry bull. I think his religiosity is affected, and I think the anger that fuels suicide bombers is directed at our actions and policies and not rooted in religious zeal. I don't think there is any separation. The Islamic fundamentalist nutjobs you speak of are largely a creation of our media -- not that they aren't united by their religion; but rather that they're not frothing crazies. You must remember that this movement is essentially an intellectual movement, begun in Western universities by Egyptian thinkers. It has religious roots, but it’s fueled and driven by politics.
posted by luckypozzo at 11:21 PM on September 21, 2006


Totally unexpected. I was completely expecting this to fall stone dead in the senate.

Absolutely barbaric -- I'm speechless. The tricameral system is falling apart before our eyes.
posted by icosahedral at 11:23 PM on September 21, 2006


Not even Josh Marshall understands WTF this deal actually entails. Hopefully the Dems can just run out the clock on this.
posted by delmoi at 11:27 PM on September 21, 2006


The tricameral system is falling apart before our eyes.

That's fortunate, considering that Congress is bicameral.

Sorry, just nitpicking. I'm sure you're referring to the 3 branches, not houses, and you're right about that, though it started long before Bush.
posted by gsteff at 11:34 PM on September 21, 2006


Absolutely barbaric -- I'm speechless. The tricameral system is falling apart before our eyes.

We have a bicameral system, the house and senate. We have three branches of government, not three houses of congress. Also the deal only involves the republicans.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 PM on September 21, 2006


I think it's clear that bin Laden is rational, but if willing to kill 3000 people for an invisible superhero in the sky doesn't reach 'nutjob' status, what does?

I understand your argument that it's mostly a politcal struggle, and I think that is so with the majority of Muslims. I don't know if that's so for the majority of Muslim terrorists. Sure, bin Laden wants to get the West out of the Ummah, but why? It's to create the Kingdom of God, an Islamic theocracy, right?

In contrast, I think your average Muslim is concerned about regaining national sovereignty, rasing their standard of living, and protecting their culture. They're pissed off seeing all that oil wealth flowing to the West and corrupt leaders- and bin Laden is pointing to that and arguing a new Caliphate is the solution.

If bin Laden's 'using politcal/military action to achieve ultimately religious goals' persona is an act, its certainly an effective one. I've never heard evidence that supports this, but I won't discount the possibility.
posted by spaltavian at 11:38 PM on September 21, 2006


I'm a little confused... first the sky was going to fall because of gay marriage, but now the sky is going to fall because of a tribunals bill?

Classic neo-con arbitrage. Note to Krrrlson, doesn't work with actually intelligent people, only with kneejerks.
posted by cell divide at 11:39 PM on September 21, 2006


Sorry - yes. Stupid comment dodged off too quickly. gsteff did catch my intent, though.
posted by icosahedral at 11:45 PM on September 21, 2006


I'm sorry, but if it would save one American life, fucking, murdering, and eating kittens is worth it. And that is why I have been fucking, murdering, and eating all those kittens, and you can't tell me it hasn't helped.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:58 PM on September 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


Sure, "the terrorists" torture and kill Americans. So we should do the same to them, right? Ok, sure the people we detain have a good possibility of being completely innocent. Ok, so we're not actively hunting the guy that was responsible for 911.

But we should dunk those muslim detainees' heads under water, because we have to show those brown people that we're just as blood-thirsty as they are. For the safety of the USA.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:07 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


And this is why we are doomed as a species.

Maybe not doomed as a species, but doomed as a nation. Unless the people part of "We the People" do something about it.

Now anyone in the world, even American citizens, can be classified as a terrorist without due process of the law. Now they can be tortured because they were classified as such, on the mere claim that that person is a terrorist. We no longer have a president, we have a king.

I used to think conservatives were afraid of a government that had the powers of tyrrany. Now I see that they were only afraid that a government of the opposition party would have those powers.
posted by moonbiter at 12:50 AM on September 22, 2006


We no longer have a president, we have a king.

Even Liz has the Magna Carta.

I'm sure we'll eventually take the semantic step from "has the powers of tyranny"...
posted by dreamsign at 12:55 AM on September 22, 2006


But we should dunk those muslim detainees' heads under water, because we have to show those brown people that we're just as blood-thirsty as they are. For the safety of the USA.

That's scary, bob sarabia, cause you probably just hit the nail on the head.
posted by dreamsign at 12:56 AM on September 22, 2006


Fuck your random postings of abuse by American soldiers.

Fuck your comments about the abuse of the constitution.

This has nothing to do with America, Terrorism.

This has to do with ethics 101.

Sadly, what little opposition sounds in the radios of the leaders which we elected.
posted by Kudos at 12:58 AM on September 22, 2006


Astro Zombie - are you telling me that fucking, murdering, and eating kittens has anti-terrorist side benefits? Sweet. That's gotta put my karma back in the black.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:33 AM on September 22, 2006


Oh, and you American senators? You are worse than Hitler.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:33 AM on September 22, 2006


Astro Zombie, I am sorry to be the one to tell you: It hasn't helped.
posted by cgc373 at 1:36 AM on September 22, 2006


Wait, were you fucking them before you murdered them? No wonder we aren't getting anywhere.
posted by gsteff at 1:43 AM on September 22, 2006


Stop stealing Rummy's lines, gsteff.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:53 AM on September 22, 2006


It's hard not to feel at least a tiny bit of guilty excitement watching the American experiment gradually become a completely untethered, wildly destructive, freewheeling tornado of imperial insanity - knowing that it will mean the end of the USA as a superpower, and sooner rather than later - but I worry about all those nice Americans who will suffer because of it, and about who or what will replace it. Oh well. Interesting times - and I'm not even living in a place you guys are bombing!
posted by stammer at 2:01 AM on September 22, 2006


Whoa, this thread got seriously derailed. I'm trying to figure out from the language who won, and I can't.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:07 AM on September 22, 2006


Sorry, clarification, who won between the McCain and Bush faction.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:08 AM on September 22, 2006


Nobody won, BrotherCaine. We all lost.
posted by Malor at 2:11 AM on September 22, 2006


I actually welcome this development, it makes things clear -- once and for all, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and secret prisons are not an aberration, they're part of the officlal US policy of torture
posted by matteo at 2:18 AM on September 22, 2006


Amen, Malor.
posted by cgc373 at 2:18 AM on September 22, 2006


The senators agreed to a proposal by the administration retroactive to 1997 that would prevent CIA and military personnel from being prosecuted for past treatment.

It's the last paragraph. Sigh.
posted by furtive at 4:36 AM on September 22, 2006


I'd like to have kids some day. It'll be weird trying to explain how through the first three decades of my life, America, despite many flaws, was generally thought of as the "good guys" around the world, even in parts of it you wouldn't expect. Not so much our leaders, but the general framework and ethos and the credit/karma we built up during and after WWII.

Those were the days.
posted by bardic at 4:37 AM on September 22, 2006


Alternate forms of interrogation produce faulty intelligence.

Faulty intelligence is used as justification for next military action.

Military action produces a worse situation.

Administration blames faulty intelligence, claims it had to act to protect American people.

Worse situation makes people feel that things are spinning out of control, and danger is rising.

American people insist that they be protected from rising danger.

Advocates of administration insist that people opposed to admin policies are reckless with the safety of Americans.

Administration gains support of majority, plans next smart move.

Downright Shakespearean, no?

And that's how getting faulty intelligence can be useful, if you decide to operate without scruples to obtain and hold power at any cost.
posted by dglynn at 4:44 AM on September 22, 2006


If the president hadn't gotten immunity from congress, he would have simply pardoned everyone involved. It would have been worded similar to the way Ford pardoned Nixon: "I'm not saying anybody did anything wrong, but if they did, that's okay."

It's not really needed anyway, is it? The president has said repeatedly that "We do not torture," and he wouldn't lie to us. Even if someone had been charged, they would have been found innocent. We hear over and over from conservatives that our courts favor the defendents. Well?

Anyway, this "immunity" won't apply outside US jurisdiction, so the torturers had better stay put. Slobodan Milosivic tried to argue that everything he did was legal inside his own jurisdiction, but the World Court didn't care and he died in a cage. If Americans did torture, they deserve the same fate.
posted by Jatayu das at 4:51 AM on September 22, 2006


Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:13 PM PST


Please show the "Articles of War" from Congress for these wars you claim have been fought in the last 50 years.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:18 AM on September 22, 2006


"Doesn't giving the president the ultimate authority to interpret the law blatantly violate separation of powers?"

Yes. That job belongs to the U.S. Supreme Court, as it's Congress's job to make law; the Executive Branch is supposed to carry out the law. They taught me that in 7th grade when I was 12. They even showed a film!
posted by davy at 5:21 AM on September 22, 2006


"Executive privilege." Compared to these people Nixon was a libertarian liberal.
posted by davy at 5:22 AM on September 22, 2006


He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit...

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
posted by edverb at 5:23 AM on September 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


And anyone who tries to operate criminal justice as if it was a war is also wrong.

Thus explaining the GOP support for the War on Some Drugs.

How about this: Anyone who tortures is wrong.

Anyone who feels the need to torture in order to save themselves is a coward.

Because that, Mr. Den Beste, is what you are -- a coward. You're so afraid of "the terrorists" that you are willing to sacrifice our rights and our honor in order to save your own hide.

You are a pitiful excuse for an American. You're cowardice would have had you hiding safely behind General Gage's and Howe's lines and roaring about those terrorists from Massachusetts.

I seriously advise you to take safety in the only refuge I know that will absolutley, positivley make sure no terrorist can hurt you. Take a loaded pistol, shove it into your mouth, and pull the trigger. I ensure you that after that, no terrorist will ever hurt you.

I actually welcome this development, it makes things clear -- once and for all, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and secret prisons are not an aberration, they're part of the officlal US policy of torture.

They're the only ones we've found out about so far.
posted by eriko at 5:23 AM on September 22, 2006 [2 favorites]


Serious legal question here: Does our obligation under Geneva (a treaty which the Constitution holds "the supreme law of the land") contradict this and supercede this? Or how about the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "cruel and unusual punishment"? Or something else?

If the Supreme Court were able to judge the Constitutionality of this bill, who could bring the case, and could this soon-to-be law be overturned? Does anyone even understand fully what is being passed here?

I understand (from last week's Monju education) that prohibitions on ex-post-facto laws don't apply here...if I understand correctly, it seems they can retroactively make torture legal, because the tyrannical maniacs who gave the orders aren't adversely affected by it. How fucking convenient for them.
posted by edverb at 5:32 AM on September 22, 2006


The people who simply have the legitimate grievances you mention protest and speak out.
posted by spaltavian at 10:47 PM PST


And then what?

"Ohhhh, look at the people speaking out. *yawn*"

Is there some global court where said "legitimate grievances" can be ruled on?

The only vote anyone has is where they spend their money. At some point the rest of the world will send their dollars back to the US of A to buy material here and ship it out of the US of A, because the dollar will be useless as a means of exchange. They will vote by turning their back on the US Dollar.

And there will be people (and economists) who will be shocked.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:38 AM on September 22, 2006


Will this retroactive immunity free those already convicted of abuses at Abu Ghraib?
posted by Jatayu das at 5:50 AM on September 22, 2006


Bad time to be a soldier.

Also, anyone shocked that McCain is behind this compromise? Dude must look back on his time in prisoner camp as if there was vaseline on the lens.
posted by fungible at 6:00 AM on September 22, 2006


I can't believe all of this. I've read every message, checked every link, ran across every conceivable possibility, and though the fact isn't that the Americans have legalised burnings, whippings, etc, the legislative process will now be more amenable to further changes.

I'm weeping into my keyboard. Time to get myself an immigration pass, methinks. Great points, everyone.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:12 AM on September 22, 2006


Help me, I feel trapped inside a C.S. Lewis novel!
posted by Goofyy at 6:38 AM on September 22, 2006


I am no longer a Christian, but it saddens me the mockery some Christians make of thier religion, which, in principle and theory, is beautiful.
posted by JKevinKing at 6:38 AM on September 22, 2006


Serious legal question here: Does our obligation under Geneva (a treaty which the Constitution holds "the supreme law of the land") contradict this

No. That's not what that phrase means.

Treaties are at the same level as federal statutes. New laws beat old laws (unless the new laws say they don't). If there is a conflict between an older treaty and a newer federal law, the newer federal law wins (unless the new law says that it doesn't supersede older treaties, or unless a court looks at the legislative history and rules that Congress didn't intend to supersede the old treaty).

If there is a conflict between a treaty and a state law or a state constitution, the treaty wins. That is all that the "supreme law of the land" bit means -- federal shit beats state shit hands-down.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:40 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


I seriously advise you to take safety in the only refuge I know that will absolutley, positivley make sure no terrorist can hurt you. Take a loaded pistol, shove it into your mouth, and pull the trigger. I ensure you that after that, no terrorist will ever hurt you.

Nah, he should go for the Walmart Shotgun Special. The last thing we need is a brain damaged SDB self toiling away, typing characters one at a time through a blow hole in his throat. He's already missing more than half of his brain matter, I can't imagine how much worse it would be with only a slightly powder burned sixteenth remaining.

Tapping foot patiently, waiting for SDB to be enraged at the suggestion of physical harm to himself... how DARE WE...

Fuck you, SDB. You will die alone, with all of your anime and all of your pathetic excuses for subhuman torture suffocating you untill the end. Your entire life is a lie.
posted by prostyle at 6:47 AM on September 22, 2006



posted by verb at 6:47 AM on September 22, 2006


This is somewhat embarassing to admit, but I used to really admire SCDB and read his blog all the time. It has been such a big disappointment to see him lose his mind, turn all cowardly and humping the leg in the jackboot.

Torture is disgusting, Steven, you should be ashamed to have entertained these thoughts. It's not healthy for you, it's poison for our country.

Do you believe in anything at all?
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:53 AM on September 22, 2006


Blood on their hands, blood on their hands. These people will meet God whether they fear him or not, and so will the people they've been oppressing. And that Judge was not appointed by neocons.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:01 AM on September 22, 2006


Good God. We were able to win World War II without recourse to torture, weren't we? What's changed since then, beyond the fact that we're now willing to drop our principles and moral standards for the sake of expediency? I believe that what makes America a good country is not our ability to strike fear into the hearts of resentful third-world partisans--it's our ability to rise above a cynical, medieval mentality. It's not our ability to hypocritically cheat long-standing international treaties that makes us great; rather, it's our ability to meet, no, to set, to exceed the global standards for human rights.

Is torture a practical method for intelligence gathering? Will practicing it hurt our soldiers in the long run? We shouldn't be giving a shit about those questions. We should not even be entertaining them. They're beneath us. We do not resort to torture, period. That's a necessary part of being the good guy. That's a necessary part of being the United States. It's a value that we, as a democratic people, need to uphold; ideally, it's a value that we should be willing to die for--whether at war, or in a terrorist attack at home.
posted by Iridic at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


It can't be said enough times: CLEAN SWEEP.

Flush this entire administration in November. Every last fucking one of 'em.
posted by davelog at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2006


Anyway, this "immunity" won't apply outside US jurisdiction, so the torturers had better stay put. Slobodan Milosivic tried to argue that everything he did was legal inside his own jurisdiction, but the World Court didn't care and he died in a cage. If Americans did torture, they deserve the same fate.

Worth restating.
posted by dreamsign at 7:19 AM on September 22, 2006


America is such a piece of shit country.
posted by chunking express at 7:22 AM on September 22, 2006


This bill/deal is really confusing (and IAAL). I'm not sure what it does or doesn't do. But if "Bush is pleased" and it's about the Geneva Convention it can't be good.

PS I made a bumper sticker for my car on CafePress last year that says I the Geneva Convention. You could make one, too.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:23 AM on September 22, 2006


*says I [heart] the Geneva Convention
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:25 AM on September 22, 2006


sarcasm
Well, here's a cheery thought.
/sarcasm

Via http://www.waynemadsenreport.com/
"The U.S. military, in response to Bush's numerous violations of the U.S. Constitution and orders to engage in a potentially disastrous war with Iran, could merely step in and suspend Article I, Section 9; Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution to pave the way for a return to democratic rule. That Clause is the Bill of Attainder clause, which states, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed." A Bill (or Writ) of Attainder is when a "legislature (or another governing tribunal such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff) declares a person or group of persons guilty of a crime or crimes, and nullifies their constitutional rights, without benefit of a trial." In this case, the U.S. military could, under international law (and pursuant to a suspension of the Bill of Attainder clause in the U.S. Constitution), declare that Bush, Cheney, and other high level administration perpetrators have violated the Geneva Conventions and other U.S. treaties having the effect of law, and, without the benefit of a U.S. trial, hand them over to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to face justice. In other words, the Joint Chiefs of Staff could issue a Writ of Attainder against the guilty parties in the Bush administration. Afterwards, the Writ of Attainder clause of the U.S. Constitution could be restored to force. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures -- and the founders of the United States wanted it that way. We owe it to them and their great sacrifices to carry on the revolutionary spirit they bequeathed to us."
posted by rough ashlar at 7:46 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


... Even before the compromises began to emerge, the overall bill prepared by the three senators had fatal flaws. It allows the president to declare any foreigner, anywhere, an “illegal enemy combatant” using a dangerously broad definition, and detain him without any trial. It not only fails to deal with the fact that many of the Guantánamo detainees are not terrorists and will never be charged, but it also chokes off any judicial review. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:49 AM on September 22, 2006


And don't forget that Bush will most likely use signing statements on this too--rendering it all just theater and meaningless except to help in the election.
posted by amberglow at 7:54 AM on September 22, 2006


Let's roll, rough ashlar.
posted by papakwanz at 7:55 AM on September 22, 2006


I need to punch someone in the face.
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 AM on September 22, 2006


Let's roll, rough ashlar.
posted by papakwanz at 7:55 AM PST


How, voting with my money? I try to.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:06 AM on September 22, 2006


I woke up this morning feeling sick. I don't understand how we got here; how the America I grew up in and loved became one of those shitty countries that tortures people. I've been a patriot all my life, even when I didn't like what my government was doing. I've loved my country, my flag, my Constitution.

I woke up this morning and, for the first time in my life, I didn't feel like an American. It feels like that part of me is gone. I don't recognize my country. I don't know whether to buy a gun and get ready for a civil war or start working on emigrating to Australia. I'm scared and angry and frustrated and disgusted and there's nothing I can do.
posted by EarBucket at 8:52 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sickening.

I think each representative that supported this should be waterboarded and then they can decide whether or not it is actually torture.
posted by Mr_Zero at 9:08 AM on September 22, 2006


Eh, this may not help, EarBucket, but had you been born in, say, Latin America, you and your family would probably have had this image of America for a good long while now.

In fact, this whole disowning of identity going on -- "This is not the America that *I* know" seems kind of strange considering the last 100 years of history. This from the nation that produced the "School of the Americas". Surely torture has been going on all along. What is the distressing part? That the good guy facade is wearing off? That the under-the-surface bad stuff is becoming legitimized? That a distressing proportion of the citizenry is either failing to oppose it or is actually behind such measures out of fear or bigotry?

Either way, this IS the America that an awful lot of people know.
posted by dreamsign at 9:14 AM on September 22, 2006


... the real issue is whether Republicans in Congress will trade the principles of democracy and the rule of law to keep George W. Bush and several of his colleagues out of jail, or whether they'll uphold the rule of law and American democracy while abandoning him to face the consequences of his illegal acts. ...
posted by amberglow at 9:15 AM on September 22, 2006


I wonder how many of the people that believe in torture believe in wichcraft.

And how many of them are willing to accept all those women burnt at the stake actually 'confessed' just for the heck of it instead of simply not being able to take the torture anymore.
posted by stFire at 9:16 AM on September 22, 2006


Yes, because these are people who are being captured and confined before they can attack us, and who thus have not yet committed "criminal acts". If you try to apply the principles of criminal justice to a war, you're bringing a knife to a gunfight, and you'll get what you deserve.

Why don't people who hate democracy go live in a dictatorship instead of working to destroy democracy? These warblogging pieces of shit would be so much happier living under the Taliban. Why do they have to live here and fucjk up our country?
posted by goethean at 9:16 AM on September 22, 2006


And you think that all our enemies now abide by the Geneva Convention when they capture our soldiers? Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.

OK:
My father was a machine gunner with the Army's 28th Infantry Division, which was among the first units to march down the Champs-Elysées after the Allied liberation of Paris . In December 1944, having landed at Normandy and fought across France and Belgium, he was captured in the Battle of the Bulge, and sent hundreds of miles through northern Germany in an unheated boxcar in the dead of winter to a prison camp at Muhlberg in the east.

My father survived the war not because of the generosity of the Nazis to Jewish soldiers. The Germans must have been tempted to send captured Jewish American soldiers to Auschwitz along with Polish, German, and Dutch Jews and kindred human garbage. But they did not. My father survived because, amazingly, even the Nazis respected the reciprocal agreements on humane treatment of prisoners.
Rebelling against torture and Bush
posted by y2karl at 9:35 AM on September 22, 2006


Habeas corpus is just an outmoded common law convention that is so obsolete and out of date and 1492!! Who cares if teh Bush Administration revokes it?!?

Whatevz!!!!!

/sarcasm
posted by blucevalo at 9:47 AM on September 22, 2006


Well if the Nazis didn't torture soldiers than surely the US should torture soldiers. Otherwise they'd be like the Nazis. It's too obvious.
posted by chunking express at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh well, I can't wait till President Hillary Clinton has all these awesome powers. We'll finally be able to solve our right wing problem.
Yeah - a final solution.
posted by 2sheets at 9:58 AM on September 22, 2006


“America is such a piece of shit country.” - posted by chunking express

No, it’s a great country. It’s got a giant parasite on it’s neck right now called the government. Bit like Kurtz. It’s a tribute to our greatness that we’re still standing despite the flaws, deep wounds, fever, betrayal and parasites.

And we were betrayed here. I was told many a thing through various pipelines before this vote happened that was, in essence, meant to quell my apprehension. Fucking lied to - again. Our morals, our principals, were beached. And for what?

Y’all best start building your resistance cells and networks now. Start salting away resources and build a few fake identities. I wish to hell this happened 10 years ago so I’d be in decent shape to push back. But, Socrates was an old bastard and he raised some hell.
Tyrants always fall. Always. This will be remedied and overcome. The only real concern is minimizing the damage.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:02 AM on September 22, 2006 [2 favorites]



"When do we get to the part where y'all threaten to move to Canada?"

I'd prefer to stay in America. All y'all who want to live in some kind of Soviet Colombia and think you'll get safety and security through torture can get out, instead.

Let us know how that safety thing works out, when you put those theories and so-called principles into practice.

America: Love it or leave it!
posted by dilettante at 10:08 AM on September 22, 2006


Okay, I'll bite, because troll or not, some people actually are cowards enough to believe this stuff. Fuck all this legal wrangling and answer me this: How on earth can you justify torture using any ethical system other than the hocus pocus "I can predict the future!" magic of utilitarian ethics. Show me one ethical system other than "the ends justify the means," vengeance, or sadism that supports torture. Steven C. Den Beste, do you believe that scientists can not predict the effects of global warming with peer reviewed science? Your profile implies so. But you, personally, can magically predict that torture will save more lives than it destroys? The lives destroyed include the soldiers who commit the torture and then have to live with themselves as they reintegrate into civilian life and the US soldiers who are tortured and killed by whatever small or significant (more likely) percentage of insurgents who were converted to fight by the US's lack of righteousness. That is to say, if you torture people without a trial, then you're bound to catch some innocents in your dragnet. As such, I would really suspect at least some of the friends of family of those innocents to be converted, by vengeance ethics, to fight back. Show me the magic ball that you used to compute those numbers: +1 for every life saved and -1 for every life destroyed. Or is torture some kind of panacea that can do no wrong?

At least when your so-called (strawman) liberals take things on blind faith, they try not to murder and maim anyone. If that makes me smugly superior, than so be it, because that's better than being a torturer.

If you please, you can replace all instances of the word "torture" with the phrase: "The borderline, it's not torture--it just hurts so much that we believe it will effectively make ruthless, suicidal, terrorists give up their deepest convictions and certainly never lie hand waving."

I honestly don't see how pro-torture supporters could be products of the same culture as me. Everyone has human rights, including the most horrible murderers among us, because that is the one conviction that separates us from evil doers. Is that really the foundational ethic that makes pro-torture arguments sound so alien to me, or is there something more going on that the pro-torture supporters don't admit to, such as vengeance? What is the foundational assumption that separates us?
posted by Skwirl at 10:12 AM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Matt Lauer Corners Bush on Torture (youtube)
posted by Espoo2 at 10:21 AM on September 22, 2006


Is there some global court where said "legitimate grievances" can be ruled on?

The only vote anyone has is where they spend their money. At some point the rest of the world will send their dollars back to the US of A to buy material here and ship it out of the US of A, because the dollar will be useless as a means of exchange. They will vote by turning their back on the US Dollar.


Yeah, no shit. This has nothing to do with what I said, which simply to distinguish between those who expoit grievances to further their violent means of change from those who use non-violent means to deal with their grievances- like a goddamned boycott of US and/or Western good.
posted by spaltavian at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2006


I will go further: any proponent of torture is no friend of mine. I do not care if you tell me that it is for my own good. I do not believe you. I believe that you want it for atavistic reasons, and only justify this vicious impulse in retrospect.

The torture fixation of neocons is the clearest indictment of their unprincipled non-ideology.

---

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?

John Yoo: No treaty.

Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.

Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:36 AM on September 22, 2006


For Pete's sake, hasn't Bush been kidnapped by ninjas yet?

England taxed our tea and we revolted. Now our government is torturing people in my name and I just sit here and read about it and get angry. Why don't I have the courage to do something? I might be more disgusted with myself than these guys. I feel physically ill.
posted by hoborg at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2006


The agreement coalesced around two crucial issues: the GOP senators' insistence that Bush not be allowed to appear to reinterpret the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, and the White House's insistence that CIA officers not be subject to prosecution for aggressive interrogation techniques -- tactics that did not constitute torture but were more aggressive than "simple assault."

The biggest hurdle, Senate sources said, was convincing administration officials that lawmakers would never accept language that allowed Bush to appear to be reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions. (WaPo)
I'm speechless.

Earbucket, welcome to my world. But take heart. My resistance cell has some open slots. How's your aim?
posted by zennie at 10:58 AM on September 22, 2006


This has nothing to do with what I said,

"The people who simply have the legitimate grievances you mention protest and speak out. "
Is what you said. Now how does one go from speaking out to actual change?

The US of A has used violence to effect change (See Smedly Butler's claims in war is a racket)

Why is violence an unacceptible choice? Isn't that part of the "why torturing is bad" - that you don't wish to have the torture visited on 'you'?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2006


This might be a little late, but can y'all remember that this is about America, not Steven C. Den Beste? Attacking him, like blaming all America's problems on the Shrub, is a diversion: I dare say if either of these two individuals had never been born America would still be just as screwed somehow by somebody. The problem is the corruptibility of the System.
posted by davy at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2006


Oh dear. I'm a Canadian who occasionally criticizes the current U.S. administration. Do I need to be worried about being sent by the U.S. to places like, you know, Syria?
posted by illiad at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2006


.
posted by effwerd at 11:16 AM on September 22, 2006


Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.

OK:

My father was a machine gunner with the Army's 28th Infantry Division, which was among the first units to march down the Champs-Elysées after the Allied liberation of Paris . In December 1944,


[nitpick]

62 years is greater than the requester's 50 year criteria.

[/nitpick]
posted by quin at 11:17 AM on September 22, 2006


Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so.


62 years is greater than the requester's 50 year criteria.


Here's another challenge along the same lines for you: Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years without using disproportionate force.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:28 AM on September 22, 2006


What is the foundational assumption that separates us?

Anecdotally, I've found the torture-supporters to be the sort that think entirely in black-and-white terms. They're not much for shades of gray or middle ground.
posted by illiad at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2006


This whole thread is fascinating. The torture thing is horrible, and it's not only the Americans who are needing to give a big thwap to certain poweful segments of its population (hello, Maher Arar, do you mind if the RCMP sells you up the river?), but the whole "we're supposed to be better than everyone else! What happened to us!" refrain is disturbing in its own way. The times when Americans honestly believed they were the only ones with "moral high ground" and were more heroic and/or good than everyone else...yeah, we can do without those times.

Maybe it's time for "America the concept" to die. It's called the United States of America; its a country full of wonderful people, flawed people, excellent ideas and terrible ideas, good and bad laws, etc., just like everywhere else.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:47 AM on September 22, 2006


“The torture fixation of neocons is the clearest indictment of their unprincipled non-ideology.”

Exactly. Say what you will about Goldwater - he f’rinstance opposed civil rights on constitutional principals - he was consistient. I happen to agree that those principals should have been maintained. I could not have, however, reconciled that with the enormous social injustice that was occuring and I would argue that it was that state of affairs which was artificial. There is a time and place for expediancy and allowances for exception in principals in recognition of a higher principal. The civil rights movement was one example of that. This, however, is not. And, indeed, never can be. A society or government which condones torture as a matter of course is one I am willing to rebel against from that higher principal.

“Why don't I have the courage to do something?”

You do. Perhaps you just don’t know what to do. Figure out your commitment level. And there are plenty of opportunities


“Why is violence an unacceptible choice?”

Violence is acceptable when it is the only choice. I don’t know if we’re there yet. But preparation for violence, well, that’s just prudence. Si vis pacem, para bellum.

“... just like everywhere else.”

I disagree. The United States is still an experiment in liberty. And a dream worth fighting for. We’re not South Africa or France or Germany. We’re not united by a common ethnicity or language or national character. All that unites us is belief in the ideals of justice and blessings of liberty. We may fail in achieving that goal, but we have rarely allowed such failures to remain. We were mired in slavery. We were steeped in racism. We have fought wars to feed our wealth and still seem to be. But we’re gaining ground. And if we were willing to shed blood to remove the shackles from our fellow men, we’re sure as hell not going to let them be tortured in our name without a fight. We may fall a thousand times in that pursuit, but we’re going to get up a thousand and one. Or two. Or three. Whatever it takes. Be thankful we have such an obvious and worthy adversary to prove ourselves against. I mean what the hell else should we be planning to do with our lives? Jerk off to porn?
posted by Smedleyman at 12:53 PM on September 22, 2006


I SUPPORT THE GENEVA CONVENTION AND I VOTE.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:58 PM on September 22, 2006


Maybe it's time for "America the concept" to die.

"America the concept" is what keeps our governing principles resembling our founding principles. Without those lofty ideals, how are we to understand the failings of our current government?
posted by eddydamascene at 1:09 PM on September 22, 2006


Republican Jesus (sorry, couldn't find the image): "Sometimes loving your neighbor means taking him to an old Soviet interrogation facility and shoving things up his ass."
posted by neuron at 1:14 PM on September 22, 2006


German authorities were under mounting pressure on Thursday night to issue arrest warrants for US agents working for the CIA who allegedly kidnapped and detained a German national for four months in 2004.
posted by magullo at 1:19 PM on September 22, 2006


"Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so."

This presumes the “war on terrr” is a real war in the sense WWII (et.al.)was. Which is one of the major disagreements at hand. Prosecuting the “war on terrr” as a “war” beyond the “war on drugs” or “war on poverty” sense - in that we’re actively pursuing courses of action similar to those in our engagements would lead to a state of eternal war.
In terms of actual engagements, there hasn’t been much playing nice on either side. F’rinstance in Korea UN prisoners were brainwashed...err.. “re-educated” by the Chinese, but UN (specifically british) commanders noted that those prisoners we’re much better off in every way than the prisoners held by Americans.

Insofar as a real analogy in terms of how others have treated an out of uniform bad guy acting suspiciously - Gary Powers ring a bell? (Think he was in a big bright plane that said “US” all over it?)
They interrogated him, but didn’t work him over too bad (he ‘apologized, but didn’t divulge any information), had a trial and they sentenced him to something like 10 years with hard labor thrown in. And those were the fucking SOVIETS.
(Seriously, anyone have high school history? Or aren’t they teaching the cold war anymore.)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2006


A Matter of Honor

Wednesday, September 28, 2005; Page A21

The following letter was sent to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sept. 16:

Dear Senator McCain:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the "spirit" of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification. For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General's office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.

Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled. Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. I and troops under my command witnessed some of these abuses in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

This is a tragedy. I can remember, as a cadet at West Point, resolving to ensure that my men would never commit a dishonorable act; that I would protect them from that type of burden. It absolutely breaks my heart that I have failed some of them in this regard.

That is in the past and there is nothing we can do about it now. But, we can learn from our mistakes and ensure that this does not happen again. Take a major step in that direction; eliminate the confusion. My approach for clarification provides clear evidence that confusion over standards was a major contributor to the prisoner abuse. We owe our soldiers better than this. Give them a clear standard that is in accordance with the bedrock principles of our nation.

Some do not see the need for this work. Some argue that since our actions are not as horrifying as Al Qaeda's, we should not be concerned. When did Al Qaeda become any type of standard by which we measure the morality of the United States? We are America, and our actions should be held to a higher standard, the ideals expressed in documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Others argue that clear standards will limit the President's ability to wage the War on Terror. Since clear standards only limit interrogation techniques, it is reasonable for me to assume that supporters of this argument desire to use coercion to acquire information from detainees. This is morally inconsistent with the Constitution and justice in war. It is unacceptable.

Both of these arguments stem from the larger question, the most important question that this generation will answer. Do we sacrifice our ideals in order to preserve security? Terrorism inspires fear and suppresses ideals like freedom and individual rights. Overcoming the fear posed by terrorist threats is a tremendous test of our courage. Will we confront danger and adversity in order to preserve our ideals, or will our courage and commitment to individual rights wither at the prospect of sacrifice? My response is simple. If we abandon our ideals in the face of adversity and aggression, then those ideals were never really in our possession. I would rather die fighting than give up even the smallest part of the idea that is "America."

Once again, I strongly urge you to do justice to your men and women in uniform. Give them clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals they risk their lives for.

With the Utmost Respect,

-- Capt. Ian Fishback

1st Battalion,
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment,
82nd Airborne Division,
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
posted by taosbat at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


Hildegarde writes Maybe it's time for "America the concept" to die.

What from the outside is moral smugness, fom the inside is an ideal for which many would lay down their lives. Americans know their country is far from perfect. It’s all there on the evening news—the gang wars, the race riots, the greed. But Americans expect each other to work hard and to make progress, but most fundamentally they want each other to be good people. The sentiment you see here is not disbelief that America is not better than everyone else. The sentiment you see here is heartbreak that the bar is being lowered, in full sight of the People, due to fear.

FDR was right about that much.
This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
Those had been words of hope in hard times. Now the they ring like a prophecy.
posted by zennie at 1:40 PM on September 22, 2006


Without those lofty ideals, how are we to understand the failings of our current government?

Even those of us in countries that Americans would deem as being without those "lofty ideals" can see the failings of your current government.

This argument sounds very much like the "with no God, how can we have morals?" line.

All that unites us is belief in the ideals of justice and blessings of liberty.

So you're not so much united anymore, is that it? So what now?
posted by Hildegarde at 1:44 PM on September 22, 2006


Even those of us in countries that Americans would deem as being without those "lofty ideals" can see the failings of your current government.

The lofty ideals I was thinking of have a similar expression in the canadian charter of rights and freedoms.
posted by eddydamascene at 2:15 PM on September 22, 2006


“Even those of us in countries that Americans would deem as being without those "lofty ideals" can see the failings of your current government.”

What, are you just arguing here or is there some dialogue involved. We agree that the current government is a big problem. That goes without saying.
You said “country.” And the country is and always has been united in it’s desire to achieve those ideals - whatever the disagreement is over means. Currently we have a small group of powerful, wealthy fanatics with the same agenda who has usurped the will of the people. That’ll change. I think it’s part of the American ideal to believe that all men are equal and should be recognized and treated as such and that is what has and continues to unite us all.

“This argument sounds very much like the "with no God, how can we have morals?" line.”

Well, except for the fact that ‘God’ is predicated on faith and principals are based on ethical reasoning. Certainly one can derive an ethical system from faith and while faith itself is not necessary, some moral end - is. The Declaration of Independence which uses the term ‘creator’ does not rely on faith, but on reasoned ethical behavior which serves some higher principle.
So, yes, without some desired ethical goal to work towards such as truth, justice and liberty - one’s acts are in a void. This does not invalidate any other country’s set of principals of course, quite the contrary.
"A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on Earth... and what no just government should refuse." -- Thomas Jefferson


I’d reverse your question and ask - ok, so we admit we’re like any other country - only much more powerful and dominant - what then? We should just recognize that fact and begin conqest to serve ourselves? We should accept torture as a matter of course because we have the power to escape reprisals?
Might does not make right.
And there are many, many people I have issues with who are damned lucky I believe that. But I like thinking I’m an exceptional person not because I’m more dangerous or “stronger” but because I embody and act upon the values I espouse. I think there are many members and former members of the armed forces who think and feel the same way and who have learned it the same way. And I think there are many Americans who think and feel the same way who serve the country as well.

'When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.'" -- Thomas Jefferson
posted by Smedleyman at 3:22 PM on September 22, 2006


If the U.S.A. is just another Mighty Klepto-Empire I want a big raise in my S.S.I. Share the friggin' loot, yo!
posted by davy at 4:06 PM on September 22, 2006


"Name one enemy that America has fought against in a war in the last 50 years who actually did so."

I don't grade my humanity on a curve.
posted by dirigibleman at 5:53 PM on September 22, 2006 [4 favorites]


what zennie said.

These people in power and their enablers all have to go so we can even begin to go forward again, let alone to repair the damage they're doing. We passed the "have you no decency" stage quite a while ago.
posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on September 22, 2006


So, why would democratically elected leaders of the United States ever want to legalize what a succession of Russian monarchs strove to abolish? Why run the risk of unleashing a fury that even Stalin had problems controlling? Why would anyone try to "improve intelligence-gathering capability" by destroying what was left of it? Frustration? Ineptitude? Ignorance? Or, has their friendship with a certain former KGB lieutenant colonel, V. Putin, rubbed off on the American leaders? I have no answer to these questions, but I do know that if Vice President Cheney is right and that some "cruel, inhumane or degrading" (CID) treatment of captives is a necessary tool for winning the war on terrorism, then the war is lost already...

Now it appears that sleep deprivation is "only" CID and used on Guantanamo Bay captives. Well, congratulations, comrades! It was exactly this method that the NKVD used to produce those spectacular confessions in Stalin's "show trials" of the 1930s. The henchmen called it "conveyer," when a prisoner was interrogated nonstop for a week or 10 days without a wink of sleep. At the end, the victim would sign any confession without even understanding what he had signed.

I know from my own experience that interrogation is an intensely personal confrontation, a duel of wills. It is not about revealing some secrets or making confessions, it is about self-respect and human dignity. If I break, I will not be able to look into a mirror. But if I don't, my interrogator will suffer equally. Just try to control your emotions in the heat of that battle. This is precisely why torture occurs even when it is explicitly forbidden. Now, who is going to guarantee that even the most exact definition of CID is observed under such circumstances?

But if we cannot guarantee this, then how can you force your officers and your young people in the CIA to commit acts that will scar them forever? For scarred they will be, take my word for it...

Today, when the White House lawyers seem preoccupied with contriving a way to stem the flow of possible lawsuits from former detainees, I strongly recommend that they think about another flood of suits, from the men and women in your armed services or the CIA agents who have been or will be engaged in CID practices. Our rich experience in Russia has shown that many will become alcoholics or drug addicts, violent criminals or, at the very least, despotic and abusive fathers and mothers.

If America's leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression -- not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering. No country needs to invent how to "legalize" torture; the problem is rather how to stop it from happening. If it isn't stopped, torture will destroy your nation's important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East. And if you cynically outsource torture to contractors and foreign agents, how can you possibly be surprised if an 18-year-old in the Middle East casts a jaundiced eye toward your reform efforts there?

Finally, think what effect your attitude has on the rest of the world, particularly in the countries where torture is still common, such as Russia, and where its citizens are still trying to combat it. Mr. Putin will be the first to say: "You see, even your vaunted American democracy cannot defend itself without resorting to torture. . . . "

Off we go, back to the caves.
Torture's Long Shadow
posted by y2karl at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2006


Sucks to be American.

Goddamn, but you've gotta take back your country in November. The current Republican machine is doing all sorts of stuff eerily reminiscent of Mussolini's reign.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2006


Sucks to be American.

Goddamn, but you've gotta take back your country in November. The current Republican machine is doing all sorts of stuff eerily reminiscent of Mussolini's reign.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2006


... What our elected officials intend to carry out is, in a word, evil. ...
posted by amberglow at 7:29 PM on September 22, 2006


"Off we go, back to the caves."

That future will have to step over my corpse before it comes to pass. And probably quite a few others first.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:58 PM on September 22, 2006


WaPo column: Into a Moral Desert
posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on September 22, 2006


rough ashlar: Why is violence an unacceptible choice? Isn't that part of the "why torturing is bad" - that you don't wish to have the torture visited on 'you'?

I never said it was "unacceptable". The use of violence does, however, distinguish who is the "enemy"- which is all my posts were about. I wasn't making an moral argument about violence, but those who are violent threat the West- making them the enemy from a survival standpoint.
posted by spaltavian at 9:35 PM on September 22, 2006


Why do Republicans hate America?
posted by egg meister at 10:21 PM on September 22, 2006


It's sad when fleeing the country you were taught to love and you were born in increasingly becomes the most attractive option.
posted by my homunculus is drowning at 1:20 AM on September 23, 2006


but those who are violent threat the West- making them the enemy from a survival standpoint.
posted by spaltavian at 9:35 PM PST


And what are the reasons the people who 'are violent threat the West' give for their violence?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:28 AM on September 23, 2006


Just make your point. This is fruitless because of assumptions you're making about my views.
posted by spaltavian at 8:18 AM on September 23, 2006


Detainee Deal Comes With Contradictions

By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: September 23, 2006

The compromise reached on Thursday between Congressional Republicans and the White House on the interrogations and trials of terrorism suspects is, legal experts said yesterday, a series of interlocking paradoxes.

It would impose new legal standards that it forbids the courts to enforce.

It would guarantee terrorist masterminds charged with war crimes an array of procedural protections. But it would bar hundreds of minor figures and people who say they are innocent bystanders from access to the courts to challenge their potentially lifelong detentions.

And while there is substantial disagreement about just which harsh interrogation techniques the compromise would prohibit, there is no dispute that it would allow military prosecutors to use statements that had been obtained under harsh techniques that are now banned...
posted by taosbat at 9:13 AM on September 23, 2006


I just wrote the angriest letter to Congress I've ever written. If any of these people think they're getting my vote after this, they're dead wrong.
posted by zennie at 9:33 AM on September 23, 2006


If any of these people think they're getting my vote after this, they're dead wrong.
I think it's time to vote out every single incumbent (except maybe Feingold)--it would flip both House and Senate, and get rid of all these bastards and fools.
posted by amberglow at 10:17 AM on September 23, 2006


For everyone who is against this:

Have you signed up to volunteer to help someone besidesthe Republicians win?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on September 23, 2006


of course, but the Democrats sitting this out was the worst possible thing for them to do--they're absent. Unless they filibuster and stop this, it's done.

...Perhaps nobody cares that that this very thing is being done every day to hunger strikers in Guantanamo. But do people honestly think it can't happen to them? Once we unleash this beast it won't only be terrorists or muslims who will be in danger. In one way or another, we all will be.
posted by amberglow at 10:41 AM on September 23, 2006


and this: ... that's why I"m calling this law, if it is passed, the USA Mengele Act, because it empowers modern-day American psychopaths to do their worst and pass it off as just trying to do their best for their homeland. ... And let's not kid ourselves that this will stop with terrorist suspects. After all, Tom DeLay used the Department of Homeland Security to try to round-up Democrats to pass his gerrymandering efforts. Of course, I'm not saying that Bush intends to torture to death his American political opponents. But it opens up the possibility down the line of using torture to produce legal evidence for American courts in, say, drug cases, and sex crimes. And when that happens, then yes, it will be pretty easy to re-evaluate the defintion of "terrorist." ...

I don't think in his wildest dreams Osama bin Laden could have anticipated such a tremendous and rapid victory over America and its values as Bush delivered. ...

posted by amberglow at 10:46 AM on September 23, 2006


typical: ... fewer than 10 percent of the members of Congress have been told which interrogation techniques have been used in the past, and none of them know which ones would be permissible under proposed changes to the War Crimes Act. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:06 PM on September 23, 2006


World-wide revolution leading to world communism.
posted by davy at 10:18 PM on September 23, 2006


I think it's time to vote out every single incumbent (except maybe Feingold)--it would flip both House and Senate, and get rid of all these bastards and fools.

All. Every Single One. Yes, you lose one or two good guys. The consistency of message mandates it. Only way to go: Every Single One.

of course, but the Democrats sitting this out was the worst possible thing for them to do--they're absent. Unless they filibuster and stop this, it's done.

And this is another reason: we are past the time of affording party loyalty. We must simply start electing the very best candidate based on a long-term view of human sustainability.

We face several dire consequences in the near future:
  • release of methane from several huge reservoirs that have been holding it out of our environment (either we're fucked and might as well not worry about greenhouse gas production by human activity, or we simply must get serious about reducing our productoin);
  • religious war between East and West (not good if you're not insane, IMO; quite possibly desired by the religious extremists on both sides);
  • mass extinctions throughout our biosphere, a loss of most complex lifeforms as the environment adapts to our use of resources;
  • the big problems of social management on both a local (city/state) level and on a global level (personally, I think we're going to end up with two or three blocs controlling/representing the world population. Some sort of continent-based governance with local governance on a scale of 25-100M people.

  • We need to start electing smart people to positions of representation and power, kind people to positions of representation and power, honest people to positions of representation and power.

    Or in other words, we need to recognize we need to change how we're doing things, and but fast before it's much too late to pull together to rescue our butts.
    posted by five fresh fish at 12:59 AM on September 24, 2006


    I don't think in his wildest dreams Osama bin Laden could have anticipated such a tremendous and rapid victory over America and its values as Bush delivered.

    I worry myself with the thought, "What if ObL bought such a tremendous and rapid victory...?"

    I hope it's just a looney thought.
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:05 AM on September 24, 2006


    “Why is violence an unacceptible choice?”

    Violence is acceptable when it is the only choice. I don’t know if we’re there yet. But preparation for violence, well, that’s just prudence. Si vis pacem, para bellum.


    The problem isn't one of "when is it time to use violence." When that time comes it is already too late.

    The problem is simply this:

    The time to use action is now.

    Go be politically active this year. Do it now. It's important.
    posted by five fresh fish at 1:12 AM on September 24, 2006


    Go be politically active this year. Do it now. It's important.

    People aren't. When we look at our only opposition choice, we're all disheartened--we can't trust that they'll stop this or even retard it anymore. The media won't, the Democratic Party won't, the courts won't, and that's all we've got.
    posted by amberglow at 7:09 PM on September 24, 2006


    When we look at our only opposition choice, we're all disheartened--we can't trust that they'll stop this or even retard it anymore. The media won't, the Democratic Party won't, the courts won't, and that's all we've got.
    posted by amberglow


    No, that's not all we've got. It's just all anyone ever expected to have to deal with going to pieces.
    posted by taosbat at 9:27 PM on September 24, 2006


    Well, if you can't be politically effective, you're fucked. Might as well move out of the USA now, find somewhere where your voice can make a difference.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 PM on September 24, 2006


    Some people are evidently still following this thread, so I'll post this here: I am an interrogtor, and I am aghast that you, of all people, would sanction such a thing.
    posted by joannemerriam at 7:34 AM on September 25, 2006


    The Democrats are being such pussies over this. They should call the compromise what it is, a fake and a get out of jail free card for Bush Co. on the War Crimes Act. If they spun issues like Karl they would be saying that Bush now says it is acceptable for terrorists to humiliate and to waterboard our soldiers when they are captured. Thw whole exercise was just a farce anyway. Bush knew he would never get what he wanted, and it wouldn't pass legal muster anyway. It was just a bargaining chip to be used to get immunity for his past war crimes. Although his prior attempt failed, it just slipped through this process unnoticed. Blame the dems because they were the only ones to give it notice, yet they were content to let McCain fight their battles for them.
    posted by caddis at 7:48 AM on September 25, 2006


    “Go be politically active this year. Do it now. It's important.” -
    posted by five fresh fish

    Way ahead of ya.
    posted by Smedleyman at 1:27 PM on September 25, 2006


    Man, what a big letdown from McCain. He was never exactly my favorite person but I never expected this kind of thing from him.
    posted by sonofsamiam at 1:29 PM on September 25, 2006


    Re:McCain.
    I’m with you. But (in retrospect) it fits his pattern.
    posted by Smedleyman at 7:56 AM on September 26, 2006


    « Older Picture-History.com has "thousands of the most imp...  |  Tu Lou,... Newer »


    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments