Wednesday, September 06, 2006

No secret place

Here's a copy of the President's speech indicating he is seeking legislation to continue interrogations of captured prisoners after the vest pocket manipulations were no longer tenable under the USSC's Hamdan decision. In the speech the President does three things. First, he describes the importance of interrogating enemy prisoners as part of the War on Terror. Second, he says information of this sort was gathered in the past by methods he asserts were always legal, but which are now because covered by Geneva Article 3, an invitation to War Crimes prosecution if continued. Third, he asks for legislation to spell out rules under which the goals of interrogation program may be pursued. The key paragraph in the speech is this:

So today, I'm asking Congress to pass legislation that will clarify the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror. First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act -- so our personnel can know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies. Second, I'm asking that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee Treatment Act our personnel are fulfilling America's obligations under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. Third, I'm asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts -- in U.S. courts. The men and women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because they're doing their jobs.

This should have been done from the first and it should have been done while the ashes of the WTC were still smoldering. Nevertheless better late than never. It is entirely possible that the President's proposals will be rejected in their entirety or substantially watered down in the Congress; but on the other hand it's possible they may be approved. No politician likes to take responsibility for exposing the public to danger by treating terrorists with kid gloves yet no one likes to admit that the Geneva convention is inadequate for dealing with global terrorist threat. Now the dilemma can no longer be avoided. And since Hamdan decided the question cannot be left to the President alone, it is now before the nation in the shape of a request to Congress. Not everyone will be satisfied with whatever results; some will think the rules too soft, others too harsh. But either way the issues can no longer be avoided. And that's good because either way, for good or ill, the war against terrorism must be America's war and not just President Bush's. Andrew Sullivan is already unhappy.

This is the Rove gambit: make this election a choice between legalizing torture or enabling the murderers of 9/11 to escape justice. The timing is deliberate; the exploitation of 9/11 gob-smacking; the cynicism fathomless. There is only one response: call them on it and vote for their opponents in November. And pray that in the meantime, John McCain won't lose his nerve or his integrity.

The cup Sullivan wants to pass away is exactly the cup politicians were happy to see low level operatives to drink from out of sight. But it is inaccurate to call this a "choice between legalizing torture or enabling the murderers of 9/11 to escape justice". It's a choice between specifying what kinds of interrogation are allowable under our system of values and letting the murderers of 9/11 escape justice. It's a choice of weighing public risk against our most cherished values and reaching some compromise we can live with. But the day has passed when one could promise both safety and adherence to Geneva in the same breath. Have Geneva and give up a lot of safety; or modify Geneva to some degree and get some, but not complete safety. No more punts.


THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR

1:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. Welcome to the White House. Mr. Vice President, Secretary Rice, Attorney General Gonzales, Ambassador Negroponte, General Hayden, members of the United States Congress, families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our nation, and my fellow citizens: Thanks for coming.

On the morning of September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to a nightmare attack. Nineteen men, armed with box cutters, took control of airplanes and turned them into missiles. They used them to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people. We watched the Twin Towers collapse before our eyes -- and it became instantly clear that we'd entered a new world, and a dangerous new war.

The attacks of September the 11th horrified our nation. And amid the grief came new fears and urgent questions: Who had attacked us? What did they want? And what else were they planning? Americans saw the destruction the terrorists had caused in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania, and they wondered if there were other terrorist cells in our midst poised to strike; they wondered if there was a second wave of attacks still to come.

With the Twin Towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country on edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new attacks, my administration faced immediate challenges: We had to respond to the attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists hiding in America and across the world, before they were able to strike our country again. So in the early days and weeks after 9/11, I directed our government's senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack.

Nearly five years have passed since these -- those initial days of shock and sadness -- and we are thankful that the terrorists have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil. This is not for the lack of desire or determination on the part of the enemy. As the recently foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they're still trying to strike America, and they're still trying to kill our people. One reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because of the hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women in our government, who have toiled day and night, along with our allies, to stop the enemy from carrying out their plans. And we are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours.

Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies -- and given our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms.

The terrorists who declared war on America represent no nation, they defend no territory, and they wear no uniform. They do not mass armies on borders, or flotillas of warships on the high seas. They operate in the shadows of society; they send small teams of operatives to infiltrate free nations; they live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret, and then they strike without warning. In this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists, themselves. Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terrorist networks operate. They have knowledge of where their operatives are deployed, and knowledge about what plots are underway. This intelligence -- this is intelligence that cannot be found any other place. And our security depends on getting this kind of information. To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.

After the 9/11 attacks, our coalition launched operations across the world to remove terrorist safe havens, and capture or kill terrorist operatives and leaders. Working with our allies, we've captured and detained thousands of terrorists and enemy fighters in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and other fronts of this war on terror. These enemy -- these are enemy combatants, who were waging war on our nation. We have a right under the laws of war, and we have an obligation to the American people, to detain these enemies and stop them from rejoining the battle.

Most of the enemy combatants we capture are held in Afghanistan or in Iraq, where they're questioned by our military personnel. Many are released after questioning, or turned over to local authorities -- if we determine that they do not pose a continuing threat and no longer have significant intelligence value. Others remain in American custody near the battlefield, to ensure that they don't return to the fight.

In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly [sic], questioned by experts, and -- when appropriate -- prosecuted for terrorist acts.

Some of these individuals are taken to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It's important for Americans and others across the world to understand the kind of people held at Guantanamo. These aren't common criminals, or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield -- we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo Bay belong at Guantanamo. Those held at Guantanamo include suspected bomb makers, terrorist trainers, recruiters and facilitators, and potential suicide bombers. They are in our custody so they cannot murder our people. One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him -- he said this: "I'll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers, your mother, and sisters."

In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.

Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks -- here in the United States and across the world. Today, I'm going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.

Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. Our intelligence community believes he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained, and that he helped smuggle al Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan after coalition forces arrived to liberate that country. Zubaydah was severely wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody -- and he survived only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.

After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information -- and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the "nominal" information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- or KSM -- was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias "Muktar." This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States -- an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained -- one while traveling to the United States.

We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM's accomplices in the 9/11 attacks -- a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody -- a terrorist named Majid Khan. KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda's Southeast Asian affiliate known as "J-I". CIA officers confronted Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative.

Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali. After Hambali's arrest, KSM was questioned again. He identified Hambali's brother as the leader of a "J-I" cell, and Hambali's conduit for communications with al Qaeda. Hambali's brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian "J-I" operatives. When confronted with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives were being groomed at KSM's request for attacks inside the United States -- probably [sic] using airplanes.

During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows.

KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda's efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda's efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent -- and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM's arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid's role in al Qaeda's anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.

These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti -- they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.

We're getting vital information necessary to do our jobs, and that's to protect the American people and our allies.

Information from the terrorists in this program has helped us to identify individuals that al Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations, many of whom we had never heard about before. They include terrorists who were set to case targets inside the United States, including financial buildings in major cities on the East Coast. Information from terrorists in CIA custody has played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since this program began. By providing everything from initial leads to photo identifications, to precise locations of where terrorists were hiding, this program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they were able to kill.

This program has also played a critical role in helping us understand the enemy we face in this war. Terrorists in this program have painted a picture of al Qaeda's structure and financing, and communications and logistics. They identified al Qaeda's travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaeda's senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like Iraq. They provided information that allows us -- that has allowed us to make sense of documents and computer records that we have seized in terrorist raids. They've identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications.

The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence, and we've received -- that we've received from other sources -- and together this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places. It's helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.

This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they've determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA's Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they're screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorized it -- and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.

The CIA program has detained only a limited number of terrorists at any given time -- and once we've determined that the terrorists held by the CIA have little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments. Others have been accused of terrible crimes against the American people, and we have a duty to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. So we intend to prosecute these men, as appropriate, for their crimes.

Soon after the war on terror began, I authorized a system of military commissions to try foreign terrorists accused of war crimes. Military commissions have been used by Presidents from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt to prosecute war criminals, because the rules for trying enemy combatants in a time of conflict must be different from those for trying common criminals or members of our own military. One of the first suspected terrorists to be put on trial by military commission was one of Osama bin Laden's bodyguards -- a man named Hamdan. His lawyers challenged the legality of the military commission system. It took more than two years for this case to make its way through the courts. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the military commissions we had designed, but this past June, the Supreme Court overturned that decision. The Supreme Court determined that military commissions are an appropriate venue for trying terrorists, but ruled that military commissions needed to be explicitly authorized by the United States Congress.

So today, I'm sending Congress legislation to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes. My administration has been working with members of both parties in the House and Senate on this legislation. We put forward a bill that ensures these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security, and ensures a full and fair trial for those accused. The procedures in the bill I am sending to Congress today reflect the reality that we are a nation at war, and that it's essential for us to use all reliable evidence to bring these people to justice.

We're now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- and the families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. Some of the families are with us today -- they should have to wait no longer. So I'm announcing today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. (Applause.) They are being held in the custody of the Department of Defense. As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice. (Applause.)

We'll also seek to prosecute those believed to be responsible for the attack on the USS Cole, and an operative believed to be involved in the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. With these prosecutions, we will send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No longer -- how long it takes, we will find you and we will bring you to justice. (Applause.)

These men will be held in a high-security facility at Guantanamo. The International Committee of the Red Cross is being advised of their detention, and will have the opportunity to meet with them. Those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys who will help them prepare their defense -- and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care, and opportunities for worship as other detainees. They will be questioned subject to the new U.S. Army Field Manual, which the Department of Defense is issuing today. And they will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied others.

As we move forward with the prosecutions, we will continue to urge nations across the world to take back their nationals at Guantanamo who will not be prosecuted by our military commissions. America has no interest in being the world's jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated -- or they will not return to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have. We will continue working to transfer individuals held at Guantanamo, and ask other countries to work with us in this process. And we will move toward the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

I know Americans have heard conflicting information about Guantanamo. Let me give you some facts. Of the thousands of terrorists captured across the world, only about 770 have ever been sent to Guantanamo. Of these, about 315 have been returned to other countries so far -- and about 455 remain in our custody. They are provided the same quality of medical care as the American service members who guard them. The International Committee of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are held there. The facility has been visited by government officials from more than 30 countries, and delegations from international organizations, as well. After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo "a model prison" where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country. Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay -- and so can the American people.

As we prosecute suspected terrorist leaders and operatives who have now been transferred to Guantanamo, we'll continue searching for those who have stepped forward to take their places. This nation is going to stay on the offense to protect the American people. We will continue to bring the world's most dangerous terrorists to justice -- and we will continue working to collect the vital intelligence we need to protect our country. The current transfers mean that there are now no terrorists in the CIA program. But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical -- and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information.

Some may ask: Why are you acknowledging this program now? There are two reasons why I'm making these limited disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of the men -- and to start the process for bringing them to trial, we must bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions, and has put in question the future of the CIA program. In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as "Common Article Three" applies to our war with al Qaeda. This article includes provisions that prohibit "outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment." The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article Three are vague and undefined, and each could be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges. And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act -- simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way.

This is unacceptable. Our military and intelligence personnel go face to face with the world's most dangerous men every day. They have risked their lives to capture some of the most brutal terrorists on Earth. And they have worked day and night to find out what the terrorists know so we can stop new attacks. America owes our brave men and women some things in return. We owe them their thanks for saving lives and keeping America safe. And we owe them clear rules, so they can continue to do their jobs and protect our people.

So today, I'm asking Congress to pass legislation that will clarify the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror. First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act -- so our personnel can know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies. Second, I'm asking that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee Treatment Act our personnel are fulfilling America's obligations under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. Third, I'm asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts -- in U.S. courts. The men and women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because they're doing their jobs.

The need for this legislation is urgent. We need to ensure that those questioning terrorists can continue to do everything within the limits of the law to get information that can save American lives. My administration will continue to work with the Congress to get this legislation enacted -- but time is of the essence. Congress is in session just for a few more weeks, and passing this legislation ought to be the top priority. (Applause.)

As we work with Congress to pass a good bill, we will also consult with congressional leaders on how to ensure that the CIA program goes forward in a way that follows the law, that meets the national security needs of our country, and protects the brave men and women we ask to obtain information that will save innocent lives. For the sake of our security, Congress needs to act, and update our laws to meet the threats of this new era. And I know they will.

We're engaged in a global struggle -- and the entire civilized world has a stake in its outcome. America is a nation of law. And as I work with Congress to strengthen and clarify our laws here at home, I will continue to work with members of the international community who have been our partners in this struggle. I've spoken with leaders of foreign governments, and worked with them to address their concerns about Guantanamo and our detention policies. I'll continue to work with the international community to construct a common foundation to defend our nations and protect our freedoms.

Free nations have faced new enemies and adjusted to new threats before -- and we have prevailed. Like the struggles of the last century, today's war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries are different, but the stakes in this war are the same: We're fighting for our way of life, and our ability to live in freedom. We're fighting for the cause of humanity, against those who seek to impose the darkness of tyranny and terror upon the entire world. And we're fighting for a peaceful future for our children and our grandchildren.

May God bless you all. (Applause.)

264 Comments:

Blogger Ash said...

It seems the President is learning on the job, which is a good thing, unfortunately so much damage has already been done.

9/06/2006 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Yes, Ash. Damage done by those on the left, and a few on the right, with no common sense.

9/06/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard said:

And since Hamdan decided the question cannot be left to the President alone, it is now before the nation in the shape of a request to Congress. Not everyone will be satisfied with whatever results; some will think the rules too soft, others too harsh. But either way the issues can no longer be avoided.

It is an astute political ploy by the President, it puts the national security debate front and center with two months to go before the mid-terms, in such a way that every legislator up for re-election will have to go on record for the vulnerability of Americans or for their protection.

9/06/2006 08:21:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Ash,Who did what damage to whom?Did the Bushies do damage to Khalid Sheik Muhammed by waterboarding him?
I say the damage was done by leftists like you who used every means at your disposal to hamstring our ability to destroy our enemies.God knows what circus awaits us when ACLU lawyers showboat for the media arcane legal arguments and the New York Times profiles the real enemies of all they hold dear:the Bush administration.
Shumer,Durbin,et al will pontificate about the civil liberties violated .All the while KSM and his merry band of swine will parade their vile selves before us when they should be hanging from a yardarm.You're the enemy,Ash.

9/06/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

This is all Rove's idea. His master plan is going into action.

Stay tuned for more.

BTW, the important prisoners will still be taken to "unknown locations" where they will be questioned by those who have no rules of interrogation, except to get the infomation out of the prisoner.

Then the prisoner might just disappear.

Papa Ray

9/06/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger vnjagvet said...

Elegantly expressed, Wretchard.

The time for ball hiding and fence sitting is over.

9/06/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yes, Ash, remember how things were when things were how they were. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" is always the ideal but for awhile yet we want to at least try to make sure there's gonna BE a Washington for Mr. Smith to go to.

9/06/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/06/2006 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush Admits the CIA Runs Secret Prisons:

Also on Wednesday, the Pentagon put out a new Army field manual that spells out appropriate conduct on issues including prisoner interrogation. The manual applies to all the armed services but not the CIA.

It bans torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, for the first time specifically mentioning forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have become infamous during the war on terror.

New Manual

9/06/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Salmon Loaf said...

Trang belched out:

"You're the enemy,Ash."

Trang, you are the enemy. People like you are more of a threat to this country than Al Qaida ever could be.

I'm not sure what to make of nazis like you who insist we can only preserve our freedoms and our rights by systematically destroying them.

9/06/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

People always have to re-experience history at first hand even if it is to come to the same conclusions as before. In this case, the public should come to a decision and if some terrible catastrophe results, well no hard feelings. Just keep track of the votes so people will remember who voted for what. And it may be that we'll be surprised. Maybe if we treat all the al-Qaeda according to Geneva and interrogate no one worth a damn it may impress them so much they'll call the whole Jihad off. Maybe. But now's the time to find out.

9/06/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

wretchard wrote:

In this case, the public should come to a decision and if some terrible catastrophe results, well no hard feelings. Just keep track of the votes so people will remember who voted for what.

Miraculously, Operation Iraqi Freedom continues to be funded every year by Congress, which holds the purse strings, despite all the hot air they blow around. This might also indicate which way the vote will go on the procedures for putting the EPWs on trial...a lot of blowhards getting their face time on C-SPAN attacking the policy, but then quietly voting for it when it comes to the floor.

9/06/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I don't know if you're a citizen of the free world or not, loaf, but if you are, then trang has already put his life on the line for you, losing buddies KIA, surrendering his youth, and spending a good deal of his life recovering from, "preserving our freedoms and our rights".

9/06/2006 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

So, point, I doubt he's a nazi, as he has actually traded gunfire with a totalitarian army. "Paid for his mike" so to speak.

9/06/2006 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Chester said...

Andrew Sullivan should keep a stack of paper bags by his desk for such frequent hyperventilation.

9/06/2006 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Here, let me start by stipulating what I think what kind of interrogation is allowable. First because any time critical interrogations have to be performed immediately, the guidelines should be clear enough so that any reasonable person can decide in five minutes whether something is illegal or not. There should be no exceptions to the rules of interrogation; and they should be such that we would be happy to abide by them even if our own children were at risk. There should be no rule that allows harsher interrogation when say, New York is the target as opposed to Wink, Texas.

My own sensibility is that no mutilation or infliction of permanent disability should be allowed under any circumstances, even if an entire city had a nuke ticking under it. However, drugs, humiliation, intimidation, sleep deprivation, moderate physical blows, psychological pressure should be allowed under these circumstances. If Geneva says these are forbidden, then the hell with Geneva.

If my own children were at risk I would with clear conscience apply these pressures to save them and deny to anyone's face that they were cruel under the circumstances. Mutilation, irreperable physical or psychological damage, etc, I would not employ if my own or my mother's life depended on it. Now, I might be wrong in my sensibility, but then if so, let's hear the counterproposal. But on no account should we say "let's not talk about it" because what that really says is go screw out the information somehwere I'm not looking but if I catch you I'll pretend I'm outraged under Geneva and string you up as a war criminal. No fair. If you want safety, pay for it. If you want to keep your morals, pay for it. It's a valid choice either way. But you can't get something for nothing.

9/06/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Salmon Loaf,In your no doubt thoughtful analysis of the Bill of Rights,please enlighten me.Where does it bestow standing to some homicidal madman in some cave in the Hindu Kush in an American court?Yeah I didn't think so.Your stupidity and hatred of our country plays right into the hands of those who would destroy us.Incidentally, Einstein,the intellectual heirs of National Socialism are the jihadis not folks like me who love liberty and western civilization.You sir are a dope.

9/06/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

"Der Terror Ist Da"

Germany wakes up, sort of.:

The good news in all this? A majority of Germans now say they see a real threat.

But then the Brits do, too. Eighty percent say yes to the war on terror, but chiefly through more hawkish domestic policies and not in alliance with the United States.

Germany Wakes Up

9/06/2006 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

sam,

re the UK:

"Eighty percent say yes to the war on terror, but chiefly through more hawkish domestic policies and not in alliance with the United States."

In a way they may have it right. Attacks on the US and Europe are probably going to come from Birmingham rather than Afghanistan. But it's easier to be tough in Central Asia than it is to buck the sacred cows in the Labour Party.

9/06/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

We're all guests here, so when one has crafted a post that calls other guests Nazis or dopes (or recalling the previous thread, psychos or skanks)...the Preview button is a perfect opportunity to look at the post again and think about whether it is worthy to be published on Wretchard's excellent blog.

9/06/2006 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Salmon Loaf said...

Trang,

Are you really as dense as you're trying to appear? If you go any further I might have to accuse you of simply acting to create a crude caricature of your position.

The point isn't whether we grant various rights to nutcases living in caves or whatever. The problem, the fundamental threat to rights is once you have a group of people running around who can kidnap and torture with no due process, no oversight, and no restriction, what is to keep them from stopping at only men in caves?

It gets even better when these things become compartmentalized so those doing the kidnapping and torturing don't even know who they have or why: they've just been directed to pick someone up. The potential for abuse is absolutely amazing. You could have all sorts of people disappearing with no record of it.

How about a SF soldier or CIA operator who begins to think things are going to far and threatens to go public or at least to congress? Might as well seize him, lock him up in Tajik jail, and begin waterboarding him to find out who he's told, right?

9/06/2006 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

My own sensibility is that no mutilation or infliction of permanent disability should be allowed under any circumstances, even if an entire city had a nuke ticking under it.

How, and what type? There's only "One" answer, the type that will get the "Most" information. If that involves holding a cigarette lighter under the balls of an animal to save my child and your mother; that's fine. Bic, or Zippo?

Wretchard, that's the first "silly" thing I've ever seen you post. You can't play "sensibility" games with the lives of a hundred, thousand, million "Men, Women, and Children."

I've got to back away from the keyboard; I must have misread that. I have been drinkin a bit. I'll read it again in the morning.

9/06/2006 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bush admits to anti-terror CIA program:

"Information from terrorists in CIA custody has played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since this program began," Mr. Bush said.

The conservative group Progress for America will announce today a "significant ad buy" to nationally broadcast a commercial titled "They Want to Kill Us," said a source familiar with the effort. The ad aims to highlight the continuing threat of terrorism and shore up public support for the war in Iraq.

CIA Program

9/06/2006 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

I'm confused, too, rufus. loaf has thrown me. So, the cases that have been broken, the terror plots foiled, should not have been foiled, because foiling them means that sooner or later I'll be waterboarding myself?

9/06/2006 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

because foiling them means that sooner or later I'll be waterboarding myself?

You would like that, wouldn't you?

9/06/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Jeez, it's the intent of the people running the legal system that has the bearing on what the system is going to be bent to do. The edicts of the Wannsee conference issued from the legally constituted sovereign government.

9/06/2006 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...

Wretchard,

I really like your 09:44:01 PM comment, especially the "hell with Geneva" part. Now I don't mean that we should just unthinkingly toss it out and say anything goes. But the silly deference that it is treated with, as if it were Holy Writ, bestowed upon us in the manner of the Ten Commandments, has got to go--should already long since given way to a more intelligent approach.

Geneva (and The Hague, and all that stuff) are merely our predecessors' efforts at formalizing war in and among contries in the West and thereby limiting the worst aspects of it. What applicability any of it has to our current struggle is very much an open question, and should be adapted, discarded, or superceded as we see fit.

9/06/2006 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Salmon Loaf,

"The point isn't whether we grant various rights to nutcases living in caves or whatever. The problem, the fundamental threat to rights is once you have a group of people running around who can kidnap and torture with no due process, no oversight, and no restriction, what is to keep them from stopping at only men in caves?"

An actual grant of rights to nutcases living in caves (Article 3 and Hamdan) has already been made as against a largely hypothetical danger that a lot of innocent people will be kidnapped by a system run amuck: a real against a maybe -- like paying a premium to insure against a contingent event. But how likely an event? After five years of war the number of people in CIA custody is apparently two or three dozen and all of them apparently real beauties.

To be fair, the same criticism applies to all hypothetical dangers. We heard the argument going the other way when President Bush talked about the still hypothetical danger that terrorists would get WMDs. But hypotheticals are dangerous things. Can you argue that since any mosque could be a hotbed of terror we should close all mosques?

Ultimately we must stick to the known probabilities. It seems to me that the danger from nutcases in caves is established and imminent because hardly a week goes by when they don't try or actually succeed in blowing up trains, airplanes, buildings, churches or mosques. Therefore it seems reasonable to regard this as a much more proximate and tangible danger than to think that President Bush will somehow establish a dictatorship before 2008. And while that danger should always be borne in mind, it seems to me that a reasonable person should be more concerned about getting bombed on a train, an airplane or a building. Therefore vigorous action against the nuts in the cave is indicated. What level? Clearly at some point it will be excessive. And the reasonable level of action against the nutcases should now be debated. Surely some reasonable ground must exist between reviving the Tower of London and treating terrorists like gentleman officers who would never violate parole because they swore by their school's honor?

9/06/2006 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger stumbley said...

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Bill S.

9/06/2006 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Loaf,

So if I read you right, you don't have a problem with the kidnapping and torture just so long that it has sufficient oversight. Is that right?

Actually, it's not kidnapping. It's taking prisoner. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are the enemy.

9/06/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

It's just BDS, Buddy. It's inexplicable, but they've actually convinced themselves that Bush, and, by extension, all who voted for him are more dangerous than the terrorists.

It's the 1/3 rule. You can, without too much difficulty, get 1/3 of the people to go along with virtually anything. 1/3 believe aliens walk among us (according to some "well constructed" polls,) 1/3 believe the government (Bush) blew up the Towers, and 1/3 believe our present government is inherently evil.

Unfortunately, 1/3 is enough eyeballs that the MSM will pander to kingdom come. Sheesh.

9/06/2006 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

If we can't deviate one iota from Geneva it would still be possible to say: "ok, we've closed that door to ourselves. Now let's go and compensate in other ways. Let's find other doors." By better spying, communications intelligence, border control, etc. After all, if we can't get information to stop terrorists by interrogation then maybe we can get it some other way, using advanced technology, for example.

You can see this process of compensation in other countries. The UK, for example, has cameras everywhere. Restrictions on speech everywhere. And the UK can detain people without charge for long periods. You save the Sacred Cow and still supply the meat by slaughtering the non-Sacred Cows.

But how if everything is a Sacred Cow? How when one says: no profiling, no restrictions on speech, no wiretapping, no border fence, no foreign spies with derogatory histories, no interrogation. No casualties. No nothing. Can we then add, 'and by the way make sure you connect the dots and prevent any further threats'? In my view the answer must be no. If this is the equation we must satisfy then it has become a trick question at some point because it has no solution.

9/06/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Quig said...

Wretchard,

I have a problem with your inclusion of "irreparable .... psychological damage". The break point may be impossible to judge. Many of those interrogated may well be unstable. It may take 72 hours of sleep deprivation to permanently damage one and 12 hours for another. Or another may suffer permanent psychological damage just on being captured.

The inclusion of this parameter precludes the development of "guidelines [that are or] should be clear enough so that any reasonable person can decide in five minutes whether something is illegal or not." without intensive training of a cadre of highly skilled interrogators. There will never be enough of these to service “time critical” situations.

9/06/2006 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Uriah said...

If the Dems wanted to avoid having to make a tough and politically risky decision, they should have put through legislation on their own. He who hesitates is lost.

9/06/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

President Shifts Argument, Catches Critics Off Guard:

Vin Weber, a top GOP strategist and lobbyist, said the White House "has substantially stepped up its effort to win the argument in the country about the war on terror." He contrasted the intensity of the involvement of Bolten and White House press secretary Tony Snow with their predecessors in framing the new message.

He said it was a mistake to view the ongoing speeches solely from a political perspective, but he said Republicans could eventually benefit.

Stepped Up Efforts

9/06/2006 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

The whole thing should be right where it was: Romania, Bulgaria, Egypt, whatever. They should be tortured, slowly killed, made to suffer the mose unendurable, excruciating pain. they should be drugged, waterboarded, rubbed in pig fat, whatever gets the information. It should be Secret, so you sensitive gentlemens won't have to get all frazzled, and frittered about it.

There is no amount of torture, degradation, fear, that would overcompensate for one dead American. Folks, your government is not the enemy, and these animals are not human. Lose the sensitivities. The first responsibility is to survive.

9/06/2006 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

I have no problem with the torture and summary execution of any Jihadi national. In fact, it should be clearly articulated that those are to be the only rights you'll be granted when you sign on to that Jihadi passport.

9/06/2006 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger R Prefix said...

Loaf,

A proposition: These guys have been running around the desert with limited fluid intake, surely they have urinary tract issues. As a prophylatic medical treatment, we don't want them developing an infection, we could do the following:

A foley catheter, a syringe, and a bottle of Texas Pete. Should clean things out just fine, might need a second treatment. Now if they happen to protest the treatment with an exchange of info, well that would be a bonus.

9/06/2006 11:53:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Quig,

There will never be enough trained interrogators nor completely safe methods of interrogation. Therefore the allowable methods should have a margin of safety and be implementable by nonspecialists in a pinch, just as medical first aid is often provided by whoever is around, simply because it must be. Even the company cook can save the bacon on occasion. If they need to find you or me someday because we're due to be beheaded in an hour, I hope they'll do a little more than just throw up their hands and fill in a form requesting a trained interrogator and a Red Cross representative. I don't expect any terrorist to be tortured to save my hide, but I at least expect him to be asked my whereabouts -- rudely if necessary.

9/07/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger sam said...

Islamic Terror's Endless 'Root Causes':

We can agree that the war was based on trumped-up evidence, that it was poorly planned and that it is going badly. But Islamic terrorists are attacking people on nearly every continent -- many who have little or nothing to do with U.S. foreign policy.

Multicultural, huggy-bear, we're-not-in-Iraq Canada has uncovered a plot by 17 Muslims to invade its Parliament and chop off the prime minister's head.

Root Causes

9/07/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

I'm all for treating these folks exactly as the Geneva Conventions require. They were captured conducting military operations out of uniform and out of compliance with the Geneva requirements with regards to attacks on civilians & the use of protected places to shield their operations. According to the Geneva Accords, the only thing they have a right to is a tribunal followed with bullet in the back of the neck.

9/07/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Wretchard:

There's a down side to "western-style" torture. (I say "western-style" because under English Common Law it was only acceptable to torture someone as part of an interrogation.) While some bad guys do crack under pressure, there are lots of other people who will confess to anything (or convert to anything!) just to get the torture to stop.

I'm still not convinced that torture necessarily works better as an interrogation tool than other methods. Moreover, torture to gain information tends to enhance the enemy's sense of power, of knowing he knows something we want.

On the other hand, not every society has used torture as a means of interrogation. Finding out information from their enemy is the least of their concerns.

This is why I find the arrogant attitude and soft hands of so many terrorists annoying. They aren't men. They may be boys with big toys and big egos, but they aren't men. They think it's manly to parade diplomats or journalists around on television. Yeah, as if that is a measure of manliness.

Samuel Doe thought he was a big man, but when he was tortured to death on videotape, he squealed like a pig. I suspect that most of al-Qaeda's brass (and Iran's brass for that matter) would be no less unmanly.

In more brutal and tribal societies, torture of captives isn't about extracting information. It isn't about terrorizing anybody. It's about making him scream so the audience can enjoy knowing just how much he is suffering. And it is this kind of brutal sadism that the Islamists are insisting on unleashing -- Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden must not assume that Muslims are the only human beings that have ever been filled with rage.

Our Constitution outlaws "cruel and unusual punishment" for very good reasons. Still, I would argue that there are more than a few people who would be inclined to torture Osama bin Laden, not out of any desire to extract information out of him, but merely out of a desire to make him scream in horror.

We should keep this in mind as we consider pros and cons of torture.

9/07/2006 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Wretchard,

As you know there has been some question about your policy on the two post guideline. I have expressed my opinion on several occasions. There was the recent "lock-out" and on a whim, I opened the 2164th's Elephant Bar, which is wide open for the "chattier" members of the Belmont Club. The purpose of the Elephant Bar was to focus on those who wish to post without someone counting, with a more casual and free wheeling format. It quickly received a fair amount of posts indicating to me a pent up demand.

Do you want to clarify your posting rules and guidelines? If you wish to retain the "two post or thereabouts" rule, do you welcome a chatting lounge for the Belmont Club audience?

9/07/2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Salmon Loaf,
We already use the military to take peoples' lives. You think that is OK, but that it is not OK to keep them awake for two days straight while interrogating them? That's odd.

9/07/2006 12:40:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Threat times probability equals Risk.

Annoy Mouse 1

9/07/2006 12:48:00 AM  
Blogger Quig said...

Wretchard,

Exactly my point. If I were due to be beheaded in an hour I frankly would rather have the company cook doing the intergation than a trained psychologist. Making sure I had earlier complimented the cook on his scrambled eggs. However, force feeding a captive with that cook's version of spag bol might bring on "irreparable....psychological damage".

Of course wording using "should avoid causing" and/or "if possible " might serve.


“If we can't deviate one iota from Geneva…..”
I am of the opinion that Geneva does not apply. It is replete with contradictions and written in and for an age that did not anticipate the nature of current conflicts. It is a document defining conflict between sovereign states. The jihadis do not yet fit that definition.

Congress must define the attitude of the USA towards a non-state aggressor in more precise terms than the Bush Doctrine. If the congress is persuaded that there is some value in the Geneva Convention then it must fully allow itself proportional response to any violation thereof.

Bush has handed the congress an historic opportunity.

9/07/2006 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

There is a wonderful, but gut-wrenching program that was made, mostly of interviews with the American flyers held in the so-called “Hanoi Hilton” during the war with the communists of North Vietnam and the Viet Cong.

The show was titled “Return with Honor.”

All the men interviewed had stories that will make you weep, but also they will help you understand the plain tactical dilemma that torture presents to a nominally civilized jailor. There are people (very likely myself included) that will fold up at the first mention of the thumbscrews. There are also the rare tough bastards that will resist unto death. Between those extremes are ranks of brave and determined people who will bend and twist, and repeatedly rally to resist in ways that cannot be anticipated. (You really have to hear Jeremiah Denton tell his story.)

Our opponents in most of the conflicts we’ve joined, have used torture less as a means of extracting information — which it can accomplish, despite the solemn pronouncements of some folks — than to break the will of prisoners so they can be used either as propaganda mannikins or to rat out their fellow prisoners or some similar shitty purpose.

The Spanish Inquisition and the “witch hunters” of New England were able to extract plenty of confessions yielded up in extremis, given as the last option to end torment. We modern folks are of course far too sophisticated to believe in Satan and all his minions, so we recognize that deballing someone with a scythe or other garden implement is just an exercise in the demonstration of power and the consequences of not possessing it. If anyone’s soul is at risk in the transaction, it is the torturer’s.

Still, there are times a person has to choose among ugly alternatives.

How many people in times of peace and tranquility want to contemplate the hard choices a rescuer has to make in a mass casualty incident, where women and children and men lie mangled in a jumble of smashed vehicles or buildings. Those of us who’ve had even the most rudimentary training have been told by our trainers, or found when the situation actually comes to pass, that you don’t waste time trying to resuscitate victims whose breathing or heart has stopped. If a chin-lift / head-tilt or other appropriate re-positioning of the body doesn’t get things going, you move on to someone else. There are plenty who will need assistance who will die or suffer permanent disabilities that might otherwise be whole with your help.

The critics on the left are the sort of folks who arrive in the aftermath of an earthquake and start filing complaints, lawsuits and criminal charges against the rescuers who were there in the thick of things, for failing to adhere to exactly the same procedures and stringent standards of care that can only be offered in peace and serenity.

War is a mass casualty incident on a huge sprawling scale, imposing radically different rules and procedures from those that might work in times of calm. We have no wish to behave like the Nazis, or the Islamic Jihadis, or any of a long list of beasts. That leaves a very wide set of options for determined, ruthless, unflinching pursuit of victory.

For victory is what we must achieve. Otherwise, we are ceding victory to a breed of murderers as unrelentingly vicious as the world has seen in most of a thousand years.

9/07/2006 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thank God for Rufus, but did anyone really respond to his post at 10:24:48 PM?
I experience the same feeling of disbelief, Wretchard, because when you mention your son, or your mother I would expect at that time you would be acting on behalf of you, and you alone, not your country or the rules which came to be in force.

That's how I see myself acting, at least, and at that point I would have to ask myself how I could in good conscience put the physical well-being of this criminal at my hands ahead of my son's life, or worse, the lives of millions.
Maybe I'm missing something, or maybe I'm just sick, but so it goes.

9/07/2006 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Obviously, the rulemaking process is something else again.
I just think to be honest, you have to ask yourself that question about putting an evil stranger's well being ahead of your own.
No doubt missing the obvious.
(again)

9/07/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The way I worded that ("ahead of your own") made me think:
I was trying to say your own as in your own flesh and blood, fellow citizens, etc but the analogy with hand to hand combat came to mind:
Obviously you would not counsel me not to mutilate the other if he was in the process of doing just that to me, to death if possible.
How then when a loved one will die, or MILLIONS will die can you counsel otherwise?
Seems I'm then acting like my life is worth more than the lives of millions, by the that calculus.

9/07/2006 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Geneva Convention is a two edge sword, soldiers out of uniform, spies and traitors are not given much protection from interrogation and can be shot.

Bush should have done this when the smoke still rose but I think this is all part of his “Texas poker” which he is a master of, Bush may get what he wants for the terrorist and put lefties, anti-Americans (daily KOS) on the spot, forcing many softies to show their colors for this election, 2008’s and the storm that brews with Iran/NK.

I just hope Bush gets the Chinese to play “Texas Poker” and not “Chinese Checkers” Which they are playing right now, playing very well at that.

9/07/2006 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Bad things must be done by good men now and then. It does not mean that we should celebrate such things nor that we should codify such things in our laws that they'd be easy. It gets fuzzier around the edges.

9/07/2006 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I realize the bean counters can now flail away at my for posts, and when I point out that it's fewer words than Fiddler, out come the raspberries from the intelligentsia.
Tough shit.

9/07/2006 01:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"four"

9/07/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I think that's my point, Mouse, the rules are one thing, but how can we as individuals not hold ourselves personally responsible when real lives will be lost?
...come what may.

9/07/2006 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Stopping someone might include killing someone. The police have to make that decision all the time. Mutilating someone isn't consistent with stopping someone, it is consistent with torture.

How is the common good best rendered? Through common process? War zones are meant to be just that. A war zone, less vigilantes and with a uniform code of conduct, that may killing others within certain identity groups, and with extreme prejudice.

9/07/2006 01:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Well... speaking for myself, I'm responsible for my well being... if someone else has been entrusted to the job, then do it. Don't? Maybe then its time for a concealed carry permit but I am not going to piss an moan about the process. No CC permit, then I will explain how it happened to the coroner later.

9/07/2006 01:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

In a knife fight, stopping someone involves mutilating them.
If I can "stop" someone from blowing up millions with the same action, how is this less moral behavior simply because we label it "torture?"

9/07/2006 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Doug,
It isn't the objection that it is unsound... it is that the methods are unsound... at least at one level. I agree with the poster who sugessted that torture is a means to itself. I'd just disagree to the extent that it made good policy because, as Stalin taught us, it truly becomes a self sustaining end in itself and unreliable at one level and erroneous at another uncorroborated which is a luxury only time would tell.

9/07/2006 01:34:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

duhhh... 'objective'...

9/07/2006 01:35:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Doug said...:

I realize the bean counters can now flail away at my for posts, and when I point out that it's fewer words than Fiddler, out come the raspberries from the intelligentsia.
Tough shit.:

9/07/2006 01:12:30 AM


I think some of the ardor for rigid control has waned. I dont think you will be getting so much sanctimonius finger wagging from the starched farts.

9/07/2006 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

SEE OTHER BLOG FOR COMPLETE COMMENT UP TP 04:40 7SEP07

9/07/2006 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard - Mutilation, irreperable physical or psychological damage, etc,

You were doing well until you got into the nebulous area of psychological damage (from humiliating or degrading treatment). To a Muslim, their lives and sense of manhood and self-esteem could be permanently altered by having an unclean, filthy indifel American putting panties on their head.

I would not employ (it) if my own or my mother's life depended on it.

Well, my mom passed, but if my kids lives were at stake, I got no problem with panties on the head ruining the delicate Jihadi mental psyche.

Then Wretchard regroups like the champ he is:

No fair. If you want safety, pay for it. If you want to keep your morals, pay for it. It's a valid choice either way. But you can't get something for nothing.

And that is exactly what the Bushies blundered on, by keeping it all in the Executive, it permitted a host of Congress and ACLU Lefty Jews and the media to tee off and say that as long as the Exec had sole responsibility - they had a free lunch in the form of criticism that both total safety and total enemy civil liberties were possible.

Now the web of accountability has snared them. For the ACLU types and the media - OK, yu guys are in deeper because the decision-making on safety vs. enemy liberties is closer to the people that also do the ACLU donationa and pay for media sunscriptions and advertising.

Congress gets the joy of going on the record with a Feingold/Schumer/Durbin approach, a Kuchinich/Pelosi approach, a McCain/Graham approach, or a Cornyn/Giuliani/Bush approach. No more luxury of Bush-bashing...but having to make difficult choices and pay or benefit from them the rest of their careers.

Rufus - There is no amount of torture, degradation, fear, that would overcompensate for one dead American.

Now that is just silly. Talking in dumb absolutes like that should be left to the fanatics: " There is no amount of torture, degradation, fear of infidels, that would overcompensate for one dead Palestinian baby."
***********************
A big remaining problem is Stevens&Co's legitimizing unlawful combatants as deserving Article 3 protections. I don't see how that will stand the passage of time. It defied existing Geneva Convention theory by contradicting the 2nd Convention on what qualifies a combatant for protection, and the reciprocal requirement required of warring parties. It appears to be a backdoor machination of some SCOTUS law clerks active in the international human rights movement to force the US to adopt 1977 Geneval Protocols, and bypass their past resounding treaty rejection by the US Senate. And presented to the 3 approving SCOTUS Transnationalists (Ginsberg, Breyer, Kennedy), Souter, and an Justice Steven who should have known better than over reach and usurp so...Breyer should have been smarter too, given he has more common sense than most liberals...

9/07/2006 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

2164,

I've already violated the 2 post guideline in letter, but the spirit is none of us should hog the road. After all, the blogosphere is so be there's no need for it. Keep to the spirit and the letter will take care of itself.

9/07/2006 02:19:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Just a few days ago the Iraqis captured one high level AQ leader. Within two days he had an epipheny and they rolled up two hundred plus. Now, how do you suppose that happened? Not with smelly undies on his head for sure. I am sure the scene was more like this:

-Prisoner sitting at table.
-Pleasant looking man enters room carrying a
propane torch and an indistrial set of bolt cutters.
-Pleasant looking man informs prisoner he is there
to ask some questions, lights torch and picks up
bolt cutters.
-Pleasant looking man tells prisoner that if he does
not feel like talkimg, he will give him a manicure
and use the torch to stop the bleeding.

The whole issue about torchure is absurd. The issue is war and whether you wish to win or lose. Force the issue and make the bastards vote up or down on winning or losing.

9/07/2006 02:35:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Wretchard, thank you for the clarification. A sensible pragmatic approach. Some of us were concerned that your laissez-faire approach was going when you locked the doors.

9/07/2006 02:41:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

"Honeysuckle" Tater says hello from the Elephant Bar

9/07/2006 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

The President's speech to spur the Congress into action was very good.

Unfortunately, this came about via a successful turf grab by judicial liberals from the Executive branch.

In a time of war the President should use any all tools to protect American citizens including holding, interrogating and prosecuting unlawful combatants.

The Hamdan decision was exceptionally poor decision by the USSC. Not only does it allow vague Geneva Article 3 rules to be applied to terrorists many believe it could be seen as retroactively applying those vague legal concepts through out US history (with dangerous consequences).

In fact, most would come to the conclusion that killing the enemy is much better than taking him alive (because we will not be able to extract much - if any - information from him). Taking the enemy alive now could be seen as a legal liability.

I would have preferred the President to defend this power as Commander in Chief. He did not. But, that is now water under bridge.

Wretchard laid out some good guidelines for interrogation of terrorists.

But, my sense is that said guidelines should be flexible and applicable for the given situation. Laying down ridge interrogation guidelines for terrorists who are trained to resist said guidelines (and basically giving the terrorists your play book) is a very bad idea.

I say the Chief of our Armed forces should delegate flexible guidelines to our professional men in the field as the situation warrants. Further, none of these interrogation guidelines should be made known to the enemy.

I don't see us successfully extracting information from the enemy or even winning a war by giving the enemy our interrogation guide book.

9/07/2006 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

2164th said:

There was the recent "lock-out" and on a whim, I opened the 2164th's Elephant Bar, which is wide open for the "chattier" members of the Belmont Club.

The recent "lock-out" as you put it was an embarrassed Mr. Wretchard gently trying to discourage the "chattier" members from engaging in markedly UnBelmontlike verbal abuse. I am glad there is an emergency outlet for that kind of talk on another forum, it has already raised the quality of this blog a notch or two.

9/07/2006 04:38:00 AM  
Blogger whit said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but, the President did not say that the CIA would no longer detain anyone in secret facilities. He also did not bind the CIA to the Military rules.

He did say that we do not torture and he will not authorize the use of torture. He said that he is ready to bring a bunch of dirty rotten international terrorists to justice via military tribunals.

Now, because of some kind-hearted well meaning idiots, we must once again torture ourselves with the determining what the meaning of "is" is.

The point is, the left leaning dolts at the Supreme Court have twisted international law and the Geneva convention in order to hamstring US (Bush's) efforts to effective prosecute the war and bring terrorists to trial.

Now Congress must provide a model for a Military legal venue which will protect US intelligence sources and personnel.

9/07/2006 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

That was the idea teresita, to help improve the Belmont Club. Now if we can figure a way to clean up your site for pedophile vouyerism......

9/07/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

In the first, place the hue and cry over how we treated people who did not recognize the very concept of the Geneva Convention - or any other convention - or the right to have conventions - was based on the Legal Industry's attempt to strike back. Things have not gone well for them of late - various forms of lawsuit reform are popular concepts - disgust at big lawsuit awards and frivilous lawsuits is at an all time high and is on the way up - the ACLU looks stupider every day as they try to support terrorists - their pick for President and Supreme Court Justices has not made it to office for some years now. They are getting very frustrated as they see their power slipping away.

Secondly, this is a classic Bushism - his opponents scream that we need the proper laws, or that Congress should be consulted - so he does just that - and it throws them into an absolute tizzy.

But the unasked and unanswered question is: once we have the court martials what would be the proper punishment for those kinds of crimminals? I can't think of any that would be allowed, prudent and just.

9/07/2006 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

It's a CYA world we live in.

Rules of interrogation are stricter now than they were before 9-11. Go figure.

It's sadly ironic because almost all, and certainly the worst, detainee abuse occurs far beyond the confines of any interrogation facility - clandestine or not - the insides of which the vast majority of detainees will never see.

In any event, thank God for the CIA. If we didn't have it, we'd need badly to invent it. While military interrogation has been reduced for all intents and purposes to direct questioning (that must justify further detention within x hours) one agency is still permitted the full complement of standard, legal, well-established interrogation practices.

9/07/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Torture as a means of extracting info has been practiced for a long time.

Surely by now someone has come up with some means of extracting legitimate, reliable info without physically mutilating the prisoner. I agree with wretchard that a line should be drawn there.

We've all been told how men will say anything to avoid being further subjected to pain, but as the fiddler pointed out there are varying degrees to which men will hold out.

My guess is that regardless of whatever rules our congress puts forth & what becomes acceptable to Americans now, future events will dictate that men will react to real time situations - given the resources at hand - and do what they deem necessary at that time to get the perp to talk.

I think what meat loaf was referring to was a situation where a non-combatant was swept up and not recognized as such, subjected to torture and perhaps suffered greatly - all to yield no usable information to the interrogation.

I don't know how similar events might be prevented in the chaos of war, but surely there must be some protocol that might mitigate such.

9/07/2006 05:47:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Mr. Gingrich has written a thought provoking essay for the WSJ’s Opinion Journal. While Mr. Bush’s time for the actions proposed by the Speaker’s manifesto has come and gone, the policies and procedures put forth by Mr. Gingrich will prove useful on another occasion.

On 20 September 2001, Mr. Bush had at hand that one golden moment to place the entire country on a war footing, whereby the full force of the US could be brought to bear. Instead, Mr. Bush would not name the enemy of the West; in fact, he went so far as to insult his fellow countrymen by anointing Islam as the “Religion of Peace.” Further, rather than calling the nation to sacrifice, Mr. Bush squandered the gift of history by essentially promising both guns and latte.

An indulgent Supreme Court stalled action on the question of Gitmo, hoping, perhaps, that the Executive would act with dispatch to render the point moot. The President did not act. Now, after nearly five years, the Executive has decided to punt the ball to the Congress, in the face of a long delayed, disabling decision of the Court. Try as he may to recover, the milk is spilled; the terrorists at Gitmo will get all the due process afforded to every American. Some reading this post will pass away before the matter works its way through the appeals process.

The United States is at war. On 911, the vast majority of Americans understood this and were prepared to act as the President would direct. Through incompetence and half-measures, tied to an untenable myth of universal Humanism, America finds itself without a defined battle plan, much less a defined enemy. Consequently, the President’s adversaries have stolen a march on him. Whatever the outcome of the mid-term election, Mr. Bush’s sun has set. Mr. Gingrich’s sage advice will have to await a new, wiser, more courageous leader.

Bush and Lincoln
Echoes of the past in today's strategic mistakes.
http://www.opinionjournal.com/
editorial/feature.html?id=
110008905

9/07/2006 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Relative to Trish and Enscout's most recent comments, here is something to think about:

What if we captured a non-combatant, a villager or shopkeeper or farmer or whatever, not an enemy soldier per se, but someone who knew some information we really needed - casual observations of Al Qudea comings and goings, deliveries of food to certain locations, etc.

After all, I once got coffee for Henry Kissenger, and I have been to the State Dept exactly one time. Or maybe that was the Old Executive Office Building; don't recall. Anyway, it is entirely plausible those sorts of observations take place. In fact, it is almost certain that kind of situation exists.

So, what would be Okay to get that possibly very valuable information out of him? You can well imagine why he would not want to tell what he knows, out of fear of retribuition, if nothing else.

Is it the information that is of importance or the status of the individual? As far as I am concerned, "torturing" an enemy solider would be fine under those circumstances. But what about a noncombatant? Which one trumps what - status or information?

9/07/2006 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

Well said Allen. A wise leader knows not only what to do, but when to act. He siezes the opportunity. At one time, Bush had the sympathy of the entire country and the world. That would not have lasted in any case, but he failed to understand the use of power. He failed because he did not understand how it worked, and that is rather astounding because of his father, although many a king has had a disappointment for an heir. Bush sees it now. By the time he is finished his term he will have learned the subtlelties of his art, but the lesson will be late and do him no good.

9/07/2006 06:21:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

Ya gotz ta han it ta Mr Bush. dat ole dumb boy juz trumped da Socialists. Whys now da gots ta shuffle around and equivacat til 'lection recess so as ta not hab ta talk on trial'n terrorists.
Boy da love 'em terrorist ..don't trial 'em day sez.
well I sez let 'em squirm ya know..cause you're either for gitt'in kinfolk blowed up or not. seems like da Demoterrorists wants us blowed up..oh sees ya at da Elephant Bar ...free drinks and free speech. dis is 'merica ain't it? juz help'in out where a body can.

9/07/2006 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger PossumTater said...

now iz got ta run to da lawyers

9/07/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

allen said:

Mr. Bush would not name the enemy of the West; in fact, he went so far as to insult his fellow countrymen by anointing Islam as the "Religion of Peace."

I don't like Bush, but on this point he is right. When those jerks made the Fox News reporters they kidnapped "convert" to Islam at gunpoint and say all sorts of propaganda, the kidnappers were breaking Islamic law, which prohibits forced conversions. Islam is not the enemy, but the enemy practices a hijacked and distorted form of Islam.

9/07/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

The Geneva Convention is not the Ten Commandments. It is a diplomatic fiction. No legislature enacted it; none apparently can amend or rescind it. To say, the Constitution enjoins adherence to "treaties", is not to say that Treaties are sacrosanct, immune to domestic Congressional (Senatorial) debate.

Politically, the Convention is no doubt unassailable. But by 2006 it has become radically out-of-date, an obstacle to the very progress it purports to represent.

"Combatants" as Geneva defines them are previous-generation figures. Today's Islamic terrorists wear no uniforms --or if they do, disguise themselves in others'-- and make no distinctions between military forces and civilians. As we all know, the more defenseless and unsuspecting victims of Islam are, the better. Hospital patients and schoolchildren, particularly girls, will do just fine.

Let the U.S. propose expansions to Geneva's outworn creed, to wit: Rather than define "terror" as such (Michael Moore's "minutemen"), specify that any State sponsoring non-uniformed assailants, and in particular any Chief of State enabling such sponsorship, is "outlawed" in the original sense. In the new sense, "outlaw States" may be subject to bounty-hunting by forces duly constituted by Letters of Marque and Reprisal.

A rogue Chief of State, "outlawed" with his invariably corrupt dictatorship, will not long survive a $50 million bounty apportioned among Convention signatories, payable to shadow-force militias with every incentive to operate efficiently at minimal cost. Remove the Outlaw label when well-defined violations of every humanitarian principle simply cease.

Rogue Chiefs need not be executed by virtual assassination, but they may not continue in executive authority. Until their regimes cease and desist, any of their successors will likewise be outlawed.

This is not a matter for diplomatic obfuscation, legalese. Life and death, national self-defense, civilization on every level, cannot indefinitely await Islamist death-cults' change of heart. We are not helpless, nor need we be hamstrung by artificial obstacles espoused by brutal communards who think nothing of leaving desperate boat-people, Bosnians, Rwandans, minority sectarians, Darfur populations everywhere, to perish by torture and murder in furtherance of "stability fascists" [Mark Steyn] seeking only graveyard peace at others' sole expense.

Do not cite "experts" on these matters. The choice is simple: Civilized societies either adapt to nihilistic Salafism and its Wahabi paymasters, giving the lie to every sadistic Mullah and his self-serving gangs, or we will deserve these sneaking murderers' chainsaws at our necks.

9/07/2006 06:42:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

For a classic lesson on the consequences of being earnest, careful, kind, and true see:

NATO seeks reinforcements in Afghanistan
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/
20060907/ap_on_re_as/nato_
afghanistan

“Jones acknowledged that NATO had been surprised by the "level of intensity" of Taliban attacks…”
“Taliban militants took over a police station in the remote southern town of Garmser in Helmand province after officers fled for a second time in two months…”
“[H]e did acknowledge that nations have been reluctant to commit troops to the NATO force…”
“He complained that aid programs to Afghanistan were ‘in some stage of life support’…”

While we meticulously examine the minutiae of humanitarianism, our unrestrained enemies continue to clean our clocks. And, indeed, they sometimes do pay with their lives; however, they are fast breeders.

How is that "surprised" keeps cropping up? Is there no adult supervision?

9/07/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

allen,
Mr Newt, as linked to earlier, puts it bluntly
"... Most government officials constitute the second wing, which argues the system is doing the best it can and that we have to "stay the course"--no matter how unproductive. But, after being exposed in the failed response to Hurricane Katrina, it will become increasingly difficult for this wing to keep explaining the continuing failures of the system.

Just consider the following: Osama bin Laden is still at large. Afghanistan is still insecure. Iraq is still violent. North Korea and Iran are still building nuclear weapons and missiles. Terrorist recruiting is still occurring in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and across the planet. ...
... President Bush today finds himself in precisely the same dilemma Lincoln faced 144 years ago. ... ... . His strategies are not wrong, but they are failing. And they are failing for three reasons.

(1) They do not define the scale of the emerging World War III, between the West and the forces of militant Islam, and so they do not outline how difficult the challenge is and how big the effort will have to be. (2) They do not define victory in this larger war as our goal, and so the energy, resources and intensity needed to win cannot be mobilized. (3) They do not establish clear metrics of achievement and then replace leaders, bureaucrats and bureaucracies as needed to achieve those goals. ... "


Old Mr Newt, he says it one post.

9/07/2006 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

pyrthroes wrote:

The Geneva Convention is not the Ten Commandments. It is a diplomatic fiction. No legislature enacted it; none apparently can amend or rescind it. To say, the Constitution enjoins adherence to "treaties", is not to say that Treaties are sacrosanct, immune to domestic Congressional (Senatorial) debate.

Indeed, the US can override the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions by legislation. However, if the GOP-controlled Senate tried to do this, they would get their butts handed to them by the Donks in 2006 and 2008.

9/07/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

Last night I turned in to the new and improved CBS News (with Katie Couric, don't you know?) a day late, as always, but still willing to give it a go.

Well, Katie seemed--other than appearing maybe a little too earnest for my taste--to have things well under control and I was all set to continue watching when she made the mistake of letting Old Man Schiefart comment on the President's speech.

Paraphrasing (because I don't have a transcript) he allowed that the President's proposals were maybe necessary and all, but that this call for new legislation would now burden the Congress, hindering its ability to deal with the more important problems this country is facing like the deficit and runaway spending and rebuilding New Orleans and... oh, I don't know just anything other than dealing with this icky problem of Islamist irrationality.

As I say, that is a paraphrase but it does, I believe get to the gist of his commentary.

So much, I thought, for the new and improved CBS News. And promptly shut the television off and went to find something constructive to do with my time.

9/07/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Moderation and Mr. Bush’s “Religion of Peace”

allen said...
Australia is abusing its "moderate" Muslims, so they say. And, by golly, those "moderates" are angry. Yes, that is hard to believe, I know.

"Muslim anger erupts at Costello call to renounce terrorism"

http://www.theage.com.au/
news/national/muslim-anger-
erupts-at-costello-call-to-renounce-terrorism/2006/09/03/
1157222007392.html
9/03/2006 04:21:22 PM


allen said...
I tried on the recent closed thread:

"Australia is abusing its "moderate" Muslims, so they say. And, by golly, those "moderates" are angry. Yes, that is hard to believe, I know."

"Muslim anger erupts at Costello call to renounce terrorism"

http://www.theage.com.au/
news/national/muslim-anger-
erupts-at-costello-call-to-renounce-terrorism/2006/09/03/
1157222007392.html



This morning Riehl World View is trying with a link to USS Neverdock, writing:

"Frankly, this is intolerable."

MUSLIM leaders have lashed out at Peter Costello, after the federal Treasurer called on them to condemn terrorism "unequivocally", and speak out plainly and clearly against radicals in their community.
http://www.riehlworldview.com/
carnivorous_conservative/


USS Neverdocks reports:

“Australia - Muslim anger erupts at calls to renounce terrorism”
http://ussneverdock.blogspot.
com/2006/09/australia-muslim-
anger-erupts-at-calls.html

General Abizaid’s “Old lamps” are sputtering again (still, yet, etc.).
9/04/2006 09:24:32 AM

The next thing you know, someone will say that CAIR is the voice of “Moderate” Islam

Was it Kissinger who said, “A moderate Arab is the one who has run out of ammunition?”

We must never allow our lying eyes to distract us from our vision of utopia; dystopic as that may be.

9/07/2006 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well, well, well.
Today marks the day that the Iraqi Government takes command of the Iraqi Army.

Mr Maliki is now in charge of his Army. What's he gonna do, who's he gonna call?

9/07/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

My hatred of these Koranimals has reached such a point that I honestly feel nuclear genocide would be too good for them. I want these filthy Koranimals to die a slow painful degrading death. If this slow painful degrading death serves a purpose gathering useful information that would be a bonus.

9/07/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Sirius Sir: So they are trotting out that old "divert the Congress" excuse?

And when BIll Clinton was impeached the arguement went that to do so would "paralyze the country."

Back in the fall of 1998 I was called to testify before a Congressional investigating commitee. They told me when to report and I said that was Okay -but that date would mean that I would have to fly up on the Tuesday of the 1998 Congressional election and I would need to schedule my flight so I could go vote first. Those guys were flustered at my reply; they were so caught up in their Congressional investigation THAT THEY HAD FORGOT THERE WAS A CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION GOING ON. So much for something paralyzing the country; a major Congressional investigation related to National Security did not even affect the schedule of the Congress itself!

This is my third post on this round so I wondoit nomore.

9/07/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

DR,

Re: Gingrich

But, DR, don’t you know, he had to go. Why, he wasn’t nice to his wife.

No, DR, Republicans will not tolerate a Mazarin; instead, give us a Herman Munster.

Yes, forward we with the majestic watchwords, “Give us victory, but give us the Geneva Convention.” Would you care for another sweet with your tea, KSM?

9/07/2006 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

One thing is abundently clear, there is no secret place in Turtle Bay.
Mr Abracadabra is coming to present Iran's view of the World.
Will the US meet him in open debate or, as Israel demands, attempt to silence him before he can even speak?
Iran's Leader Declares Intent To Speak at U.N.

The evil MSM honchos at ABC have upset Mr Clinton. Seems he does not approve of the 9-11 docudrama.
BUBBA GOES BALLISTIC The NYPost calls the show a damning movie.

But do not believe the telling of the tale, by ABC. They and the rest of the MSM are not to be trusted with portraying the truth. I've read that here, often.

9/07/2006 07:27:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

Trish,
I like your observation that the CIA is still permitted to interrogate enemy non enemy non people who would vote Democratic if they could just walk across their border into land we took from them a hundred years ago.

It is an absolute outrage that we can defend the United States against anything. We started it all. Our tourists didn't buy Hitlers Postcard drawings which led directly to WWII. Our soldiers ruined perfectly good beaches in Normany and crushed one innocent hedgerow after another after the Germans were kind enough to build aan Atlantic Wall to protect from that very thing.
It's just been one nation on the planet that's always right in the middle of mankinds grasp for enslavement and dhimmitude. The USA. We should be glad that the world has finally awakened to the horrors our country perpetuates. Thank goodness we have cocaine and opium poppy growers to develop money to fight our research into cancer and other diseases that Allah has provided for us.
And it is people like Bush who want to allow free speech to continue, for a hundred flowers to blossom and for that subversion of the state's policies to continue. He wants people to be able to own guns when only soldiers and police should be able to enforce the state's dictates and laws. And so it goes. America the horrible.

9/07/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

desert rat wrote:

Today marks the day that the Iraqi Government takes command of the Iraqi Army. Mr Maliki is now in charge of his Army. What's he gonna do, who's he gonna call?

Gosh, I bet they've been chomping at the bit to go after the car bombers, but couldn't because the Americans were in charge of the Iraqi Army. Now we'll see some proper action! (/me rolls her eyes)

9/07/2006 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

That, Ms T, is EXACTLY what many members of the Iraqi Parliment have been saying for months now.
That the US was not allowing aggressive action against the Sunni Insurgents. Actions that these Shia MPs say would secure Iraq. The lack of success in suppressing the Sunni Insurgency is one major factor in the growth of the Shia Militias.

So yes, we will see.
Personally I hope the ISF steps up and fights for themselves and their country. I think they should have been given the Authority and Responsibility years ago.

They, like all good folks, would have grown to fill the shoes, or not.

9/07/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

ilia capitolina said:

My hatred of these Koranimals has reached such a point that I honestly feel nuclear genocide would be too good for them.

The twenty year old Muslim woman who has known nothing but the Q'u'r'a'n and was forced to marry a sheik...she is not my enemy.

9/07/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

I am unable to access the site known as the Elephant Bar. I notice that it is not listed among the members of the Pajama Media.

This could be a malfunction of my computer or lack of knowledge on it's operation.
Has anyone had any difficulty gaining access to this site?
Thanks

9/07/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

04:53:49 AM
"Moral Relativism"
Also, what's good for the Goose is Unacceptable for the Gander.
In fact Ganders should be neutered.

9/07/2006 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/07/2006 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


here you go, habu

9/07/2006 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Teresita writes: The twenty year old Muslim woman who has known nothing but the Q'u'r'a'n and was forced to marry a sheik...she is not my enemy.

Give to Allah what is Allah's. Let him sort it out.

9/07/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

COMMENTS at ELEPHANT BAR AND TATER GRILL

9/07/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

terisita:

"The twenty year old Muslim woman who has known nothing but the Q'u'r'a'n and was forced to marry a sheik...she is not my enemy."

I would not normally read or respond to one who has corrupted the blogosphere as you have done, but let me say this in response to your observation:

A twenty year old Muslim woman who has been force fed the evil verses of the Koran for all her life and now has adopted an Islamic worldview - one that honors the killing of innocents and supports the practice suicide bombings by such usefule idiots as herself is indeed my enemy and the enemy of our civilization.

Get your s$!t together woman.

9/07/2006 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

enscout wrote:

A twenty year old Muslim woman who has been force fed the evil verses of the Koran for all her life and now has adopted an Islamic worldview - one that honors the killing of innocents and supports the practice suicide bombings by such usefule idiots as herself is indeed my enemy and the enemy of our civilization.

There is no such thing as an evil worldview, only evil actions. 'Nuff said.

9/07/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Teresita writes: There is no such thing as an evil worldview, only evil actions. 'Nuff said.

Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum would beg to differ.

9/07/2006 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Enscout:
So if I cover for you,
Lie for you,
Drive you to place your IED,
And, I am Female,
I am Innocent.

9/07/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

The gentleman in the back row has a.... Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

9/07/2006 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

desert rat wrote:

The evil MSM honchos at ABC have upset Mr Clinton. Seems he does not approve of the 9-11 docudrama.

Only because the writer/producer of "The Path To 9-11" used those secret documents Sandy Berger shoved down his pants.

9/07/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger luc said...

Doug said... 9/07/2006 01:12:30 AM I realize the bean counters can now flail away at my for posts, and when I point out that it's fewer words than Fiddler, out come the raspberries from the intelligentsia.
Tough shit.

Doug said... 9/07/2006 01:13:10 AM "four"

Doug I appreciate and actually agree with most of your comments except for the ones of this type. I will not suggest you grow up because I am sure you are past the age of growing but, maybe you could drop this really, really silly stuff.
Lighten up on! Think of something funny as long as it is not strangling me :))

9/07/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Luc,
How would you know if I can grow?
"We are the World,
We are the Children,
We pay our tax Dollars for Ari's nonsense!
"
See?
I'm growing in and out, as Mr Rogers said.

9/07/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Yes, I think you should model your posts on buddy larsen's. I really like his style, and he is one smart feller. Probably good-looking, too, though of course that's just a guess.

9/07/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Seems that first report of Iraq taking command of it's own Army were overstated.
Mr Maliki gets the Air Force, Navy and the 8th Division of the ISF.

The rest of the ISF stays with General Casey.

9/07/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

Wretchard said: 9/06/2006 10:51:10 PM
Can you argue that since any mosque could be a hotbed of terror we should close all mosques?

Actually I believe that you can, and the possibility should be investigated. It is clearly forbidden by the US constitution if you grant ( as nearly all do) that Islam is a "Religion". The essence of the argument then should be that it is necessary under today's conditions to define what is meant by a Religion, giving due consideration to the reason why the constitution includes restrictions against laws affecting religion. In my view the essence of this reason is that history has proved that when A Religion is essentially a branch of government, it has proven to be an intolerably oppressive arm, and when it is the whole government (as in Islam) that goverment is an abomination and must be destroyed.

During the middle ages and in Roman times torture was routine as a method of interrogation, I think the actual torture was carried out by folk who were slaves and little better regarded than the folk they tortured. The oversight was feudal deriving from the "Divine right of the King" through his vassal lords. In our Western eyes today this is wholly unacceptable.

We are fighting an enemy who either believes or pretends to believe (more likely)that every thing he does is sanctioned by "Allah". Does anyone really believe that the Geneva convention will save any American prisoner from torture if the enemy decides that he wants to torture? The convention depends on reciprocity to maske it work.

I don't know the answer to the torture problem but I do indeed believe the Islam itself needs to be divorced from the idea that it can be part of a governmental system, or else be utterly destroyed.

The alternative is back to Feudalism in the West to deal with it.

9/07/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

09:07:22 AM,
I've seen pictures, and will remain silent.

9/07/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

My purpose, before I got the sillies, was to direct the interested toward this excellent Protein Wisdom column on the howling inconsistencies of the left's reaction to GWB's approach to solving the Hamdan dilemma. Please read it, it's chockful o' good stuff, to help frame that which sorely needs framing.

9/07/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Most political advertising dollars are husbanded until after Labor Day, whereafter they are marshalled for the election-day push.

Rove's genius lies in using the same strategy for political messages. When Barone compares Bush's Administration to a pulsar, dark for long periods then suddenly bursting forth with energy, one must assume these sudden bursts are planned to accomplish both the strategic and the political.

It may not always work, this shrewd manipulation of time and event. It just may be that the Republicans are blessed with an adversary that has, by the time Labor Day roles around, spent all rounds and emptied all barrels.

9/07/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ari,
I'll second that.
I even understood it, subject to review.

9/07/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rush is surprised that Clarke is so well presented in "The Path."
---
I read somewhere that he was a consultant on the project.
Surprised he hasn't heard.

9/07/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger sirius_sir said...

So they are trotting out that old "divert the Congress" excuse?

More like the old "divert the poor overworked Congress" excuse. Somehow we are supposed to believe what the President is asking is somehow unfair.

I guess what strikes me the most is how quickly the narrative changed from: "The President is mistreating the poor terrorists--I mean, alleged evildoers--to: The President is mistreating our Congress and adding yet another item to an already overbooked schedule.

I can't see that line of attack getting much traction, but you never know. Just proves to me, though, that no matter what the President does there are some people already determined to be unhappy about it.

9/07/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"It is an absolute outrage that we can defend the United States against anything."

- Habu

All things considered, it's astonishing that we manage to the extent that we do.

9/07/2006 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

"We pay our tax Dollars for Ari's nonsense!"

To be quite fair, I readily admit that most of my posts are difficult, esoteric, and many times obscure. I do not do this purposefully. When all you do is read difficult texts, papers, treatises, etc., you tend to mimic their style.

The paradox is that, were it not for my appropriation of this obscure lexicon, my posts would be five times as long and yet just as confusing. That is why I will try to post a bibliography for particularly opaque posts, so, firstly, you will be able to trace my thoughts, and secondly, so you will know I'm not talking bullshit.

In the last post, I recommended to Wretchard a concrete plan for him to add value and robustness to the war on terror. The language I used was drawn almost verbatim from policy papers that dealt with the issue he spoke of, the issue of the rest of us outside the military and what we can do to help. Now, he may not have the time, and he may not be persuaded, but I am sincere in my recommendation nonetheless, and, after many hours and days of research, confident of its feasibility.

Information will be the element on which everything in the 21st century pivots. The more accurate, unbiased, unagenda'd information available in open source, the better off America as a whole will be. For instance, Lebanon. We should know the media influentials in Lebanon, especially those with an anti-Hezbollah bent, and we should establish channels along which we can send timely information that may help to shape the battlefield. We should also know more about the political dynamics in Lebanon. Who's in who's camp, what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses? Using a Rovian strategy, we could then figure out ways to attack the strengths of our adversaries. By keeping the attack within the context of Lebanon's domestic situation, and by filtering it through Lebanese influentials, we can ensure a maximum impact on the minds of the Lebanese people.

Think about how much impact an essay by an Shia intellectual has had on the Lebanese internal debate. Mona Fayed did not spontaneously appear with her viewpoint in August 2006. She has a history and a paper trail. Someone inside Lebanon, who was tasked with following such trivia, could have given us a head's up a while ago. A blogger in Lebanon, for instance.

We should know these people in advance of a conflict. We should help these people succeed. And we don't need to wait on the government to do it.

9/07/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Rem870 said...

D'Rat said Mr Maliki gets the Air Force, Navy and the 8th Division of the ISF.

Have you got a link for this? I'm curious as to what type (size, planes/vessels, etc) of Air Force and Navy the Iraqis have. Has it been upgraded during our stay, i.e. have we sold them some 'modern' equipment? I don't know why, but I never gave much thought to anything but the Iraqi Army.

9/07/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger raymondshaw said...

'The twenty year old Muslim woman who has known nothing but the Q'u'r'a'n and was forced to marry a sheik...she is not my enemy.'

Here's a nice cameo by a twenty year old Muslim woman. She comes in towards the end.

www.pierrerehov.com/sk_trailer_wmv_b.htm

9/07/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

rwe,

For the purposes of interrogation, a person under confinement is a person under confinement. Combatant/noncombatant status doesn't determine method beyond the utility of any given approach in any given case.

9/07/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

aristides; 09:17:51 AM

re: Most political advertising dollars are husbanded until after Labor Day,

Of course, we must exercise great care in what we say politically at this very delicate time in the political process; McCain-Feingold, you know.

Which President signed this "clearly unconstitutional" Act? Oh, yes, that would have been the "Tomorrow Man". And, yes, I know, the poor fellow was forced by the wily, evil, Socialist/Communist, unpatriotic Democrats not exercise his Constitutional veto power. He was saving that for something really important, like a highway bill.

So, when Mr. Bush came into office, I had unfettered freedom of political speech. When he leaves, I will be unconscionably fettered, defying more than two centuries of Americanism.

Why is this man a hero?

9/07/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

First of all, this post is not from Fiddler, but from an actual SANE PERSON who has slipped in. Fiddler is lying on the floor in a puddle of cheap gin. By the time he's sober again, Wretchard will have posted some new essay, and Fiddler will never know...

What I need to share with you is my ***genius insight*** that the decision by the SCOTUS (Supreme Court) to give the full protection of the Geneva Conventions to the terrorist f*ckards who violate every letter of those conventions 24/7...

WAS ACCOMPLISHED BY KARL ROVE, WHO HAS ALL THE PERSONAL DIRT ON EACH OF THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES!!!!

He extorted their votes, so now his mindless puppet GWB would be able to force the hand of Congress at this critical moment!

You have to understand that Saint Rove the Incalculable is actually a Hyper-Intelligent Pan-Dimensional Being, whose intrusion into our dimension is cleverly disguised as a chipmunk.

Things must be pretty damn boring in his pan-dimensional home.

9/07/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Didn't I read about six months ago on one of the Yurp blogs that the terrorist Khalid Sheik Mohammed had "irreprable psychological damage". That wasn't the exact terminology, but that was what was implied: that he's permanently been put in an internal LaLaLand.

Be interesting to watch what sort of defense he is able to conduct now that he's an official prisoner at Gitmo.

And I'm making a mental note that if Wretchard had been in charge, whatever was done wouldn't have been, and whatever he divulged wouldn't have been learned. Given that he's such a fine stellar upstanding sort of human being, I'm sure that is exactly what Mr. Richard had in mind.

9/07/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

rem870
I heard it on FOX and they have this short story on their website.

9/07/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Allen,

I don't think he's a hero. He's a politician, and like most politicians after they've been around for a while, I'll be happy when he's gone.

But he is a good politician. When his biggest weakness is the perception that he is the tool of "big money" and "big business", and when he knows that McCain can make his entire presidency miserable--in fact, has a good reason, after the 2000 primary, to do just that--it makes sense for him to sign a bill that has a chance to neutralize both of those Achilles' heels.

Unfortunately, it was a prime example of good politics making bad policy. C'est la vie.

9/07/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

And I'd like to add that, Sullivan's hyperventilating notwithstanding, none of this is in fact a debate on torture. It never has been.

Torture talk, on left and right, is a fixture of the political circus surrounding the Ambient War.

Might as well debate the pro's and con's of drawing and quartering Dan Rather, for all it has anything to do with reality.

9/07/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Rem870 said...

Thanks, Rat. There wasn't much in that artcle, though. This article from last year mentions that the Iraqi navy is a very small force - 700 sailors, 6 patrol boats and 400 'marines'. This short short article from August indicates that the navy intends to add 21 new vessels such that they can protect their offshore platforms.

Wikipedia indicates that the air force is likewise rather small. It looks to consist of helicoptors and transport aircraft.

With this little bit of 'research' that I just did, it seems to me that the Iraqis have virtually no fighting ability from these two branches. Does anybody else know different?

9/07/2006 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oooo, I'd watch THAT--the last reel of Braveheart, starring Dan Rather.

9/07/2006 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Not that it wouldn't SELL, Buddy.

9/07/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Rem 870, I too have the feeling that the Iraqi Army is a long way from being a match for either of their hostile neighbors. Gonna need Uncle Sam's umbrella for a long time yet.

9/07/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

aristides; 10:25:26 AM

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Constitutional Convention with certain mutable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yes, that is the ticket. What is given by man can be rescinded by man; it is merely politics.

You do have to hope that men do not decide to abrogate the right to life, as the matter of political expediency.

9/07/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

How is the US to deal with Muslims? Spengler may be of assistance.

"Ayatollah al-Sistani and the end of Islam"

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/
Middle_East/HI08Ak01.html

“A great gulf is fixed between Islam and Christianity, which do radically different things for different people.”

“Islam is the revenge of traditional society against the encroaching empires…”

“As an Islamic leader, Sistani understood much better than any Western observer that the search for a "moderate" Islam, an Islam of personal conscience rather than an established state religion, was a fool's errand.”

“Islam is not a doctrine, I reiterate: it is a life…"

___Spengler

9/07/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

I haven't read every post, having been busy being one of the leading mutineers in the free speech movement.

But a good deal of the discussions I did read involved torture and how it should be conducted.
I wonder how many of the contributors have 1. ever been tortured in any real sense we've been talking about and 2. how many of the contributors have even talked to someone who has been tortured..not read an article in Readers Digest or a book but have had a heart to heart talk with a person who'se been tortured?
My guess is very,very few if any.
Well, I have.
My uncle was a gunner on a B-17 that was shot down over Germany. He was taken prisoner and torture daily for two years. They pulled his teeth out with plyers, one or two a day and applied some type of "burning substance to his bleeding gums. t
They broke both his arms and did not set them,instead giving them a twist daily to impede any healing.They cut portions of his tongue and ears off. That is war.
I also knew several women who had made the Bataan Death March. Once I offered a female Marine Master Sargent a hand as she exited a C-47. She looked me right in the eye and said, "Sonny boy, I survived the Bataan Death March, I can sure as hell get off this aircraft." She's been raped,tortured and starved. That is war.
The Phoenix program in Vietman was a walk in the park compared to what my uncle endured. Mostly after some interrogation and other methods we just shot them. They did the same.
So, what to make of it. It's easy to talk the talk, but go ahead and do it. It changes you.
But if,as Rufus says,it will save one US Armed Forces person then I say do it and do it with gusto...everyone does it. DO not handcuff the USA to some flowerchild philosophy of human treatment. They aren't worthy to talk the talk. Kill the enemy. Reduce his homes and factories to rubble, and since most civilians in war contribute to the effort they are fair game too..crush the enemy to dust

9/07/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

One has to wonder why then, why there are jillionaire Saudis live glittering unfettered lives, only a stone throw away from the hordes of Muslim poor and unemployed?

9/07/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

sorry, referring to Spengler--

9/07/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

raymondshaw said...
'The twenty year old Muslim woman who has known nothing but the Q'u'r'a'n and was forced to marry a sheik...she is not my enemy


wanna bet on that when the shit hits the fan..of course she's your enemy..she feeds her man, etc.Kids in Vietnam shorter than an AK-47 knew how to kill ....you wipe your enemy out..goats,chickens,factories,women ,children oldmen old ladies ...poof all gone..they are the enemy.

9/07/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

3rd post...don't bother rebutting any of my comments. That requires a colloquy which could spin off into a conversation about oleo margerine, heaven forbid.

The remedy to any angst here is to post and then just turn to other endeavors so as to make room for the wallflowers,lurkers and others who are barred magically from participation. Then egalitarianism can reign through the land.

9/07/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Allen,

I make no judgment when I say that worse transgressions against those ideals have been upheld and enforced by this nation and her people.

Actually, the trend, if there is one, looks graphically optimistic. Like a strummed guitar string dissipating energy and returning to equilibrium, deviations from our founding ideals are becoming smaller and smaller.

There will never be perfection, but we've come a long way from the Alien and Sedition Act. There is much to lament about McCain-Feingold. But when such a small perturbation is considered the greatest of evil, we also have much to celebrate.

9/07/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

allen said:

And, yes, I know, the poor fellow was forced by the wily, evil, Socialist/Communist, unpatriotic Democrats not exercise his Constitutional veto power. He was saving that for something really important, like a highway bill.

Bush saved his veto for blocking federal funding of stem cell research. Gotta rein in Big Government, see. We owe it to the taxpayers.

9/07/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Ash said...

Rwe posited an interesting dilemma which all seemed to have avoided addressing:

“Is it the information that is of importance or the status of the individual? As far as I am concerned, "torturing" an enemy solider would be fine under those circumstances. But what about a noncombatant? Which one trumps what - status or information?
9/07/2006 06:09:43 AM “

I think a good maxim to steer ones behavior with is the old saying “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. Or in ethical speak, the principle of universality. I think the Geneva conventions were drafted and signed on to in this spirit.

When one is drafting an interrogation policy, or ‘torture’ policy as some here would phrase it – guidelines for personnel to follow when conducting interrogations - you should not look for guidance to what you personally would do to save your child but rather what you would permit others to do to your child in similar circumstances. Or, what do you think would be acceptable for others to do to captured US soldiers.

So many here write as if the captured person to be interrogated is guilty of heinous crimes and holds valuable information. In reality you have little else to go on but your hunch. There is no due process to establish the prior guilt before you perform your evil deeds (presuming that the individuals guilt actually mediates your evil actions)

The Geneva conventions are pretty good, our great nation has signed on to them and we should live by those obligations.
Note -remember the pithy “two wrongs do not make a right” when contemplating any direct response to my blasphemy.

9/07/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

buddy larsen wrote:

Rem 870, I too have the feeling that the Iraqi Army is a long way from being a match for either of their hostile neighbors. Gonna need Uncle Sam's umbrella for a long time yet.

Well, we're gonna need our umbrella back when it starts raining North Korean shells on Seoul.

9/07/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

In my mind the question is how much of our sense of civilization are we willing to sacrifice to save our civilization.

while I don't believe that our society should condone torture as a matter of course, there is no escaping the truth in these words from Habu:

Kill the enemy. Reduce his homes and factories to rubble, and since most civilians in war contribute to the effort they are fair game too..crush the enemy to dust

It seems that we're in a slow dance right now, trying to avoid the need to shed too much of our civilization as we fight this enemy.

But if comes down to raw survival some of the niceties we are hell bent to preserve right now will be left behind.

The monuments to our war heros are in part to honor their bravery, but also to mark the fact that these people gave up some of their humanity to protect us.

9/07/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Taliban, Torture, Torts, and the The Islamic Emirate of Waziristan

Let me see. If any of Pakistan’s 60 or so nuclear weapons were to fall into the hands of the Taliban, would I be willing to use torture to extract from ANY knowledgeable person its whereabouts, if I had credible intelligence pointing to its use against an American military base, for example? Why, yes, I would.

While I might be content with committing suicide or condemning my family to death for conscience sake, to fail to prevent harm to such innocent others would be tantamount to mass-murder.

MUSHARRAF’S DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
http://www.rightwingnuthouse.com/

9/07/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

teresita, if he hadn't been governing from the center, BDS sufferers would be exploding like Martians in "Mars Attacks".

Say, does Asia Times *ever* have a good word for the west?

9/07/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Can someone tell me in what war, say from WWI on, did the enemy feel itself constrained by anything approximating the Geneva Conventions, and their adjunct the Laws of Land Warfare.

Chivalry only existed, for a short time, in the minds of horse bound APC's.

9/07/2006 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

skipsailing; 12:07:38 PM

re: "these people gave up some of their humanity to protect us."

Thank you. Indeed!

9/07/2006 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Kill the enemy. Reduce his homes and factories to rubble, and since most civilians in war contribute to the effort they are fair game too..crush the enemy"

None of these actions refer to torture, skipsailing.

Like I said, those who entertain thoughts of torture are inhabiting a different universe, encouraged on occasion by pundits who have sod all connection to workaday reality.

You believe you're engaging in a debate that matters, a controversy that actually exists. But it doesn't.

It's been manufactured for you

9/07/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

The early white American settlers gave as well as they received. They knew they were at war and displayed Indian scalps as if they were Hermes scarves. They knew they were at war and appreciated the enemy that they faced. They fought to kill. They fought to win. We are not there yet. Yet, when we get there, Americans will fight and take scalps.

9/07/2006 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

It is, as Jonah Golberg might say, a time waster.

9/07/2006 12:27:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Ash, re: do unto others (or Kant's categorical imperative).

The answer depends on whether you seek to universalize a principle, or a context.

For instance, it seems obvious that I should not torture because I would not have others torture me. However, what happens if we fill out that context.

What about torturing someone who has planted a bomb that must be diffused? Here, the context is "someone who has planted a bomb that must be diffused." I am perfectly comfortable torturing someone in that context, and, following the Golden Rule, would not have a problem with being tortured if I were the one who planted the bomb.

You see, a proposition like the Golden Rule can be deceivingly simple. On the surface, statements like do not kill because you don't want to be killed make intuitive sense. But underneath, statements like "kill to save your family because--if you were threatening someone else's family--you would understand if they killed you" are equally valid under the rule.

Simply, I would torture somebody to save my family. You see that sentence and think the most important phrase is "I would torture." I see that sentence and think the most important phrase is "to save my family."

In your moral universe, all you care to universalize are the verbs. What you seem incapable of understanding is that it is the context that makes all the difference.

9/07/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Trish, what is the president speaking of when he says:

"First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act -- so our personnel can know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies"

Is this not an attempt to delineate what is acceptable? Are you trying to say that if Congress says 'burning balls' is acceptable then we are not, because of that determination, therefore talking about torture? I'm confused as to what your getting at.

9/07/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

buddy larsen; 12:10:41 PM

re: “does Asia Times *ever* have a good word for the west?”

That probably depends on circumstance.

Spengler has been very sympathetic to Mr. Bush, despite believing him inept.

It would not surprise me to learn that Spengler believes Schumer a dolt, Boxer a pixie, Reid a moron, Pelosi an idiot, and Mr. Bush incompetent. Many here would agree with 80% of that assessment. So, at worst, Spengler may be only 20% anti-west. However, since he has been far more accurate in his prognostications than the administration, he could be, also, right.

9/07/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Aristides, you are correct that context does matter but, in fact, we are trying to "universalize" the principle through the Presidents attempt to define what is acceptable.

With respect to the specific contexts you mention much is presumed. A. The subject has the information required B. Torture will get that information. Leaving that discretion to individuals is bad policy which could lead to widespread abuses.

9/07/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Allen, I agree re Spengler--but look at the other titles--just read the thumbnails, both sides of the webpage. I feel indicted.

Ash, you're right--man's inhumanity to man is a problem--as others have noticed over the past few millennia.

9/07/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

re: Bush's attempt to universalize the principle.

In moral theory, rule-utilitarians believe that, "where there is reason to think that leaving a particular decision to individual choice would cause more unhappiness than adopting a rule, there one should adopt the rule. (R. Barrow: Injustice, Inequality and Ethics, 1982).

Thus we will get a rule that we should never mutilate, even though a context exists where it is necessary. The probability and consequence of mutilating out of context demand it (according to this theory).

9/07/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

We must do whatever it takes!

“Remembering the man in the red bandanna”
http://www.tigerhawk.blogspot.com/

9/07/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

second catherine -- the great people and the great institutions are those that are able to rise above their principles when greater principles emerge. and yes it is a judgement call, out in space like an eyeball on a nail.

9/07/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

To not violate our codified norms of decency with indecent terrorists and accomplices is to be "better" than they

and dead.

The pact we're making never to administer torture under any circumstance seems good and honorable. But in times of terrorist war, kidnappings and scimitars, WMD and mass killings, it's untenable, even craven. We're saying that ensuring the physical and psychological integrity of captured terrorists and accomplices is more important than saving the lives of one to millions of innocent others who could suffer and be snuffed.

We're saying we should value an interrogator's sense of honor and soul over the very existence of one to millions of innocent others, never mind the reckoning of their souls.

We're saying our country's binding but mutable law and "moral" sensibilities- preached, proposed and voted upon by mortals- take precedence over the lives of one to millions of innocent citizens who, caught unawares, wouldn't have legal remedy to challenge their imminent and senseless suffering and death.

Is it really moral to prescribe and vote in laws that uphold the safety and comfort of the guilty at the expense of innocent lives? The slippery slope argument, that a firm upper limit need be established or abuses will happen to some prisoners who have no vital information, is right and terrible to contemplate, as far as it goes. But that hill will be slippery with blood both front and backside and pool at the feet of all of us if we don't stop the terrorism and wanton mass killing using every means at our disposal. In this case, if the ends don't justify harsh means in some cases, then humane means will hasten the end.

I or any individual can choose their own death over capitulation. But is a person or system that won't do what's required, sometimes something heinous, to retrieve information that could save the lives of many innocent people all that brave and honorable or just morally consistent and narcissistic?

9/07/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

Catherine,

You are assuming that Subject X has information which you can get out of them by torturing which will save millions of people. How many people are we allowed to torture until we happen upon (if ever) this special case where the information gained saves millions? Is 100 too many? 1000? 1 million? 1?

9/07/2006 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

(Sorry, Buddy, I had to repost my comment after yours, when two phonecalls happened during my posting and I can't type and think at the same time, which is all too evident.)

Ash,

Your hands and conscience will be clean.

9/07/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Oh, Ash, you're a moral titan! A lordly winged pegasus-mounted god, soaring across the vaulting blue, sword of Truth raised high, stern of visage and tiny of brain. wish i wuz you.

9/07/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The question is,not what one is unwilling to inflict,but what one is willing to have inflicted upon oneself.
For political correctness and the Gorelick wall the US had 9/11 inflicted on it,for political correctness and fear of offending a minority the UK had 7/7.
It should be noted that in each case the maximum that the terrorists were capable of was inflicted,if they had been capable of inflicting more damage they would have done so.
This is not a law and order matter it is war.
It would be a courtesy therefore if those parading their priciples will state what casualties they are willing to sustain for their principles

9/07/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

skipsailing said:

In my mind the question is how much of our sense of civilization are we willing to sacrifice to save our civilization.

Right. The torture issue could become My Lai writ large: "We had to become destroy our values in order to save them." Is there any example from history of a republic becoming a savage empire to fight off the Vandals, and then returning to republican (small R) ideals afterwards?

9/07/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

well Buddy, and Catherine, you have some ethical problems with your 'pro torture' beliefs. I guess you know what will happen to you if you are to be judged by God. Ethics, just academic hot air - riiiight.

9/07/2006 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Is there any example from history of a republic becoming a savage empire to fight off the Vandals, and then returning to republican (small R) ideals afterwards?

WWII strategic bombing.

9/07/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Habu_3 said...

I read the link by Andrew Sullivan. When arguments are made in the fashion he has produced they are false flag ad hominem attacks.
Concerns about the timing of the speech,ie. using it as a political tool to force a vote on where COngress stands on the issue of prosecuting terrorist is a brilliantly timed move. Before an election the most important issues should be debated and voted on so the public is informed as to who stands where.
Nancy Pelosi's comments following the speech were focused on her agenda. The President has one too. Nancy wants to critise the prosecution of the war and high gas prices. The President sees a problem far more dangerous and complex challenge in fighting terrorism and wishes to discuss it. She looks the fool.
But hand in glove with all of this 4th generation warfare is the old saw that the generals are always fighting the last war. Well I don't believe that's true this time around, although I do think a show of more unadulterated might, such as levelling villages gets the word around quicker than handing out candy.
It's not the generals fighting the last war it's the world institutions that have been in place since the end of WWII that are outmoded and sclerotic. The Geneva Convention,NATO,the UN, all are relics of decades gone by.
Todays battlefield is one beyond limits. It encompasses the entire social realm and the continually developing sphere of technology where space is now measured in nanometers. Today those spaces are interlocked with each other. An example is outer space. It can be seen as a natural space, and also as a technological space because each step in the militarization of outer space requires a technological breakthrough. Information acts the same way on the interdynamics between society and technology. The battlefield is now ubiquitious and can only be characterized as omnidirectional.
It is no longer simply the weapons of the traditonal battlefield, but economies,election,medicines,education and many more that are now and forever going to be ruled and manipulated by our enemies. Computer voting? A ripe field for warefare. Education by Wikipedia, where constraints on content were initially non existent. Electronic universites where formulas and codes can be changed and in turn used incorrectly.
The list is endless as we move into the nanoworld, but our accords and treaties, our mutual defense pacts, our own laws do no even begin to address changes that are here now. It is not even a recognized problem by many. It's the smoothbore vs. the rifled musket. One was accurate at 75 yards, the other at 200. What a pity.

9/07/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Yes, Ash and T, better to let many, many innocents die than to, in a few instances and under extraordinary circumstances, sully our souls and national character. Forever and ever. Amen.

9/07/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Allen via Asia Times Online:

Islam is the revenge of traditional society against the encroaching empires - originally against the Eastern Roman Empire - which threaten the life of the tribes. Under Islam the tribes unite in the ummah, retaining their customs and character. The delicate task of clerical leadership in Islam is to regulate the most intimate details of daily life within the old tribal norms, while keeping the ummah intact. As strange as this may appear to Western eyes, it is a difficult job to execute.

---

Islam’s primal ambition was that of Arab Empire and Conquest. The difference between Islam's "traditional" Empire and that of the Roman Empire, is that the Roman Empire catered to Roman traditions and culture, while the Jihadi Empire catered to Arab traditions and culture.

Tersita, you wrote that “there is no such thing as an evil worldview, only evil actions.” Expansionist undemocratic Empires, like the Roman Empire or the Soviet Empire or the Arab Jihadi Empire, have no rational legitimacy to govern or exert their malignant influence. A world view that lends support to these Empires, imho, is a world view that is evil.

9/07/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

Ash,
You are couching the argument in inaccurate terms. The real question is how many innocent lives you are willing to sacrifice in order to not "torture" a terrorist.

9/07/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr said...

I think this issue reflects a general unwillingness of our society to follow the "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" philosophy. Rather than address an issue in it's infancy (in this case, a terrorist with information), we would rather wait and try to deal with the consequences.

9/07/2006 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Ash, "anti-losing society to homicidial maniacs" is equal to "pro-torture"?

And, please, spare us the Eloi eschatology.

9/07/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger IceCold said...

cybrludite (oh those many comments ago) hit the nail: the Conventions ARE being applied - it is NOT a question of applying them or tossing them out.

The Conventions are not empty - they actually contain lots of words, with specific meanings and history behind them. It is widely assumed - and universally by critics of Bush and the US - that the Conventions are simply a statement of good intentions, or something. Not.

This is why several commenters are correct that many "combatants" (with apologies to true combatants, as our enemy rarely fights, and then rarely fights well, and never honorably) in the current war are entitled to almost nothing under the Conventions.

The SCOTUS's implausible mangling of Common Article 3's applicability to the current situation is misleading in leading us back to the Conventions as a topic.

As Wretchard noted accurately in a post a few weeks ago, the Conventions are part of the "legal museum" that reactionaries and dimwits seek to protect from a changing world. I'm told there is a split of opinion within USG intl. legal circles - some recognize the value of amending Geneva to accommodate the new reality, indisputably NOT part of Geneva's history, while some fear the moral and other insanity now rampant in the world (Europe included) would doom any new attempt to fix Geneva. The baggage (most of the world) would refuse to go along with those who do all the work (even though thereby the baggage is endangering itself).

There are genuine ethical or moral issues here, but Geneva is not one of them. That's an open and shut case, even if 99% of those opening their mouths or keyboards on the topic show their ignorance by continuously trying to invoke the Accords. Geneva as is (contrary to SCOTUS's silly blather) is adequate for a crude approach (terrorists can be summarily executed and otherwise have no defined rights outside what they get from other treaties such as those dealing with human rights). If we want to expressly deal with the new phenomenon of terrorists as global non-state non-signatory illegal combatants, then Geneva must be changed.

This is not an obscure technical matter. The ignorant and incorrect assumption underlying much slander of the US by American politicians, NGOs, and media - not to mention that of Europe and others - is key. The US and a few of its allies are the only ones who actually DO apply the Conventions. Others, in effect, tear them up by emptying them of content and substituting therefor vague and baseless assertions of the need to be nice to people - or something.

As the ICRC has seriously lost its way, and succumbed to the global moral inversion, I'd favor a huge push for another Geneva round, which would have the benefit of forcing at least some people to recognize that the US takes the Conventions and rule of law seriously, while its critics trash the Conventions and all legal and moral common sense to support their bizarre anti-US shenanigans.

9/07/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Ten people- no, two- one person dies because Ash could not soil his conscience with the thought that he might humiliate or cause "psychological harm" to someone, anyone, in the process of obtaining information needed to prevent it.

I guess Ash knows what will happen to him in either case, if he is to be judged by his God. Oh, wait- if I remember correctly, he doesn't have one.

9/07/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ilia capitolina; 01:49:57 PM

re: Asia Times

Are we disagreed?

9/07/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

doug:
re: your 8:36
Perhaps you should review my prior post after reviewing miss t's post prior to that.

or omigod, your drunk too!

9/07/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ilia capitolina,

For curiosity's sake only, are you an Arab-Israeli?

9/07/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

How is dropping A-bombs on cities to try to stop a bloody war somehow more acceptable than having to torture a terrorist who could, but who is "reluctant", to help you prevent a bloody terrorist attack?

Why is it more acceptable to shoot and kill a jihadist who is getting ready to murder, than it is to intentionally hurt a captured terrorist to get him to reveal where his victims are stashed and awaiting beheading by accomplices?

If I am "pro-torture", then Ash is pro-terrorist. We obviously have different ideas of who the victims are. I would sure hate to be the good people on our side trying to protect us in this sick, terrorist war. Either they must sacrifice a part of their innocence and humanity, or sacrifice innocents and part of humanity.

9/07/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

ilia capitolina said:

Tersita, you wrote that “there is no such thing as an evil worldview, only evil actions.” Expansionist undemocratic Empires, like the Roman Empire or the Soviet Empire or the Arab Jihadi Empire, have no rational legitimacy to govern or exert their malignant influence. A world view that lends support to these Empires, imho, is a world view that is evil.

I'm sorry, that is just as illegitimate as a repeat offender saying, "I may be evil but society is evil too because society made me what I am." It is an attempt to blame a person's background and beliefs for the wrong actions they decide to take. To an evangelical Christian, Mormon beliefs are twisted and evil, but everyone admits that Mormon people, themselves, are moral and upstanding citizens. By the same token, there are many Catholic priests who have utterly orthodox beliefs but who engage in serial pedophilia. We can't be thought police, we can only punish bad behavior.

9/07/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger M Al-Content said...

what Aristides said earlier about information was important, i think. citizen action can include being well-informed and knowing who in the media, politics or law enforcement can be trusted to make use of information (as opposed to just burying it).
fyi, i have reading here for a few months now, thanks for all the informative links.

9/07/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Why is it more acceptable to shoot and kill a jihadist who is getting ready to murder, than it is to intentionally hurt a captured terrorist to get him to reveal where his victims are stashed and awaiting beheading by accomplices?

Because in the one case it is Ash that is threatened. He kills the jihadist for himself and no others. In the other case he may gain nothing for himself but a stain upon his conscience.

9/07/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

aristides wrote:

I wrote:

Is there any example from history of a republic becoming a savage empire to fight off the Vandals, and then returning to republican (small R) ideals afterwards?

WWII strategic bombing.


Uh...okay! I concede the point. Perhaps the same case can be made for the Union in 1864-65.

9/07/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Catherine said,
"Either they must sacrifice a part of their innocence and humanity, or sacrifice innocents and part of humanity. "
---
Perfect!

9/07/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Enscout re 8:36,
I was trying to say I agreed with you, and wake up Dan who was falling asleep in the back of the theater.
Even this morning I couldn't figure out how to re-word it to make it more clear, but so it goes.
I just remembered what I should have typed: ;-)

9/07/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

09:59:52 AM Aristides,
Thanks for the explanation.
Don't have time to do it justice now, (and may never have the wherewithal) but two questions come to mind:
1. Can any sophisticated and effective information campaign be associated with the govt and remain effective?
---
ie, the market producing products like Limbaugh and parts of Fox, vs Democrat/Soros Dollars producing the Al Franken Network and the multitude of pathetic govt programs.
---
2. Why are bloggers often harder to understand than traditional writers?
Some examples:
a. Our own Fred seems to know more about Islam and the Koran than the vast majority of us here, yet his posts are often easily understood.
b. Leedeen knows a great deal about Iran, and his articles likewise are easy to read.
c. Victor Davis Hanson.
---
I realize your post and goal requires something more demanding so not casting aspersions.
Question has to do with many bloggers vs "traditional" writers.

9/07/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Hey,Don't Let The Meat Loaf or whatever your name was;We're not talking about shadowy government agents grabbing Rajib out of the corner Quickstop and pulling out his fingernails to find out where Mr. Big is.KSM is the uncle of Ramzi Yousef who did World Trade Center attack #1.If Yousef was a little more skilled in his trade,one tower would have collapsed on the other maybe annihilating 50 or 60 thousand of our fellow citizens.These jokers in question were known commodies,bad actors ,nihilistic monsters who deserve whatever comes their way.I'm no caricature,buddy.I'm the real deal.I've been down the road a couple times and what I saw was there are some people who need a dirt nap so we can live in peace.
It's ironic that those who scream the loudest that every dirtbag on the planet needs Geneva Convention protection fail to see the ludicrousness of their position.The Geneva Convention was based on Christian just war theology.Many of those who condemn America in these matters totally reject the God of the Bible as well as any standard of objective morality.The real crux of their position is not distaste at our supposed evils,but their inability to recognize and condemn the genuine evil in the world.
Teresita,if you really believe your statement that there are no evil worldviews,only evil actions then you are,dare I say it,a dope.

9/07/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Ilia Capitolina said...

Teresita writes: It is an attempt to blame a person's background and beliefs for the wrong actions they decide to take.


Whether black is black at day time or night, it is still black. My argument is that at night most things will turn black. The Roman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Jihadi Empire, the Soviet Empire, the Nazi Empire, etc., to me represents that political night.

Political Objectivism is reason based. It is the rational alternative to the religious political Mysticism of the right and the nihilistic political Subjectivism of the left.


Allen, there is no such thing as an Arab Israeli.

9/07/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Habu,

In my own actual experience, people who have really survived interrogation under duress are reluctant to blame those who have broken because each survivor knows how close to the edge he came. Many people have a secret fear, which some interrogators find and others miss. Walking out unbroken is part luck, part guts.

It's also a mental game because you have to give up something under the lash. The trick is to give up the useless stuff; name people already dead but whose death is not yet widely known; or people out of reach. In your heart those are not betrayals. Those are points scored against the enemy. In your mental fortress, the non-break perimeter is often drawn very close.

Those who do break are changed forever. I visited a lady released from the Marcos torture system and you knew that something in her had broken forever. The personality was gone, and indeed some months later she went and married one of the guys on the other side.

The ones with the fingers twisted off are the easy ones to spot. Those you fear the most are the folks who reappear after a long absence with no apparent scars who are subtly different in a disturbing way. A man who really breaks wants to be like his torturer, at least in my own experience. He has rejected his former self because he can't face that self any more; can't really go back to his friends and say the same things without remembering the betrayal he would forget at all costs. When you break somebody, he is yours. And only a torturer would want such a twisted thing.

I have no sympathy for torture. But I have still less for those who would steal the honor of real resistants by portraying standing in a sheet with disconnected wires as torture. That's not torture. Connect the wires and it will be torture. Holding a snarling dog near a man isn't torture. Letting the dog go while he's tied to a post is torture. The human rights guys who would define torture downward may think they are sympathetic to its victims. But on the contrary, they've insulted them by cheapening it the way we have cheapened the Holocaust, by calling every no-account misfortune a Holocaust: think they are opposed to torture when they've diminished the evil of real torturers the way they've trivialized the meaning of the word Nazi by attaching it to anyone they don't like.

9/07/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger The Mad Fiddler said...

Doug, you surely have seen the internet is full of chimps, acting out the conjecture about an infinite number of primates and a million typewriters eventually re-creating all of Shakespeare's works by random pecking.

On the other hand, it's like the idealized marketplace of ideas. Nobody had to ANNOINT Wretchard, or Hewitt, or Whittle, or den Beste. They just wrote their brains out, and their coherence called to us in our benighted misery.

Only an editor knows what makes a brilliant writer. Two HUGE differences between bloggers and professionals are (a) pay, and (b) the 24-hour or several day-period available for editing and re-writing before deadline.

A site like this or your own blog can help a person learn to be a more effective writer.

...(I'm waiting for the chorus of people challenging "well, it's not working with YOU!")

The problem is NOT the quality of writing and logic.

People retreat into their routines. They only skim headlines, or listen to the TV "news" in the other room while mashing turnips for the porridge. NOTHING sufficiently outrageous (!) has happened yet to wake'em up.


Readers of Belmont talk to each other and from time to time actually consider and even LEARN something new.

When they've mostly metabolized the latest thorazine dose, the folks at Demokratischer Untergrunt post their rants, and then slump back in their restraints. I want desparately to believe my thoughts are much more pure and noble than theirs, but I realize I have to commit a lot more of my energies to volunteering for political grunt work at the local office.

We're too busy slagging each other off to prepare for the approaching wolves. Look back at all the horrific provocations the US public ignored before Pearl Harbor.

9/07/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But real torture is beyond the Pale even if a loved one or millions will perish while the terrorist is spared being tortured?
That's what I still don't understand, not as a policymaker, but as an individual.

9/07/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(question @04:31:09 PM was for Wretchard)

9/07/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ilia capitolina,

re: "Allen, there is no such thing as an Arab Israeli."

While Messrs. Olmert and Peres, among a host of others, would differ, I take your point.

“Jerusalem 1967”?

9/07/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"The human rights guys who would define torture downward may think they are sympathetic to its victims. But on the contrary, they've insulted them by cheapening it the way we have cheapened the Holocaust, by calling every no-account misfortune a Holocaust: think they are opposed to torture when they've diminished the evil of real torturers the way they've trivialized the meaning of the word Nazi by attaching it to anyone they don't like."

Absolutely.

9/07/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

I might add the same thing about the word "Terrorst". It has become fashionable to say "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist". This is BS. There have been thousands of resistance movements against tyranny; there are hundreds even today. In many the tactical question comes up: "is it legitimate to kidnap the daughter of the secret police colonel because we know where she goes to school?" And most resistance movements actually decide: no it is not permissible. The real wonder is not why suicide bombers exist but why there are so few of them; the real question is not the existence of the video-equipped Islamic slaughterhouse; but why in a world awash with grievances and cheap video cameras it is confined to them. If terrorism is so normal then where are the other slaughterhouses? Terrrorists are not normative freedom fighters. Most ordinary people understand that because they understand ordinary decency. The question is whether some intellectuals still can.

9/07/2006 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Smith said...

Free nations have faced new enemies and adjusted to new threats before -- and we have prevailed. Like the struggles of the last century, today's war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries are different, but the stakes in this war are the same

History provides context, but a limited context - it will take us only so far in building policy to address the current instabilities that span seven centuries and an equal number of psycho-socio-cultural dimensions. The gap must be breached by what? Academics, ala root causes, or common sense, ala our founding fathers. The experimentation advocated by liberals or the traditional conservative answers of win first the military battle and let the rest fall out.

…the guidelines should be clear enough so that any reasonable person can decide in five minutes whether something is illegal or not.

The emphasis on legal clarity is spot on. One word, well three - prescription drug bill - the perverse tango between the legal system and the legislative system. If the rules of engagement governing the very sensitive subject of interrogation are to be codified, now is not the time to rhumba in the jungle with the words.

RE: An ‘ambient war’ [previous thread courtesy Buddy] in the interstitial spaces of civilization. Conflict as an ambient parameter is an intriguing concept. So, are the traditional conflict resolution heuristics obsolete? Is that the message? Or just renaming things - imperialism resurrected as 4th generation warfare [Wretchard]. A ‘performatist’ juxtaposition worthy of the Coen Brothers.

9/07/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

ilia capitolina,

sefardí?

9/07/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

"The real wonder is not why suicide bombers exist but why there are so few of them; the real question is not the existence of the video-equipped Islamic slaughterhouse; but why in a world awash with grievances and cheap video cameras it is confined to them. "...

Because Islam is the perfect storm of everything that could possibly be wrong with a human ideology. And they happen to be on deck when the perfect storm of Western Civilisation has wrecked itself on indecision and doubt.

9/07/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Guys, I'm sure we do a lot more "Druggin," than we do "Torturin."

9/07/2006 04:56:00 PM  

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