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@ poque
Dealing in absolutes reminds me of the many leftist people here in the US as well as in Europe. They won't be satisfied with anything less than Utopia.

They are also the people who will bring a knife to a gunfight and then cry foul.

@Pamela

>>"the Internal Revenue Service says I owe taxes on a $6000 pension disbursement I never got."

Now you're going to find out what torture really means.

>>”Really? Who, what, where and when? And was it covered by CIA policy or just act(s) of rogue agent(s). Someone please show me one credible claim of torture carried out as U.S. policy.”

As noted, for example in this Washington Post story, The CIA has officially acknowledged “unique and innovative” interrogation techniques, which Pogue euphemistically refers to as “CIM.” These “unique and innovative” techniques include striking and shaking, waterboarding, standing, handcuffed and with shackled feet, for up to 40 hours, and standing naked in a cell cooled to 50 degrees F and being periodically doused with cold water. In waterboarding, the prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in resulting in a terrifying fear of drowning. In my opinion, these are acts of torture, and the official policy of the CIA is, therefore, to torture. I realize that they are only “CIM” to Pogue, Mr. Goss, and Mr. Gonzales, et.al. I respectfully disagree, and I think most reasonable people, including a strong majority in the U.S. Congress, would also disagree, whether they stand on the right or the left of the political spectrum.

Cathy Young has some good posts on the torture issue here and here, including some excellent comments on the issue of “moral absolutes,” and the “ticking time bomb” scenario. For example:

“I am more strongly opposed to torture than Krauthammer; but I am also enough of a realist to recognize that a firm "no torture" stand is likely to be qualified with some tacit acknowledgment that, under some strictly defined circumstances, some unpleasant things will happen under the radar. I find that vastly preferable to starting with the admission that "we must all be prepared to torture." If we start with a "thou shalt not torture" moral absolute, we are likely to be extremely vigilant about lapses from this commandment, limiting them only to absolute necessity. If we start with the idea that torture is sometimes acceptable, that slippery slope is going to take us pretty low.”

Your standards for CIM seem quite absolute to me - "NO - NEVER"

Pogue Mahone, it seems strange that most of the time "leftists" are getting blamed for a "lack of moral convictions". There are indeed things I would be pretty "absolute" about: Killing, robbing, stealing, putting Jews in concentration camps... you get the idea. Not everything is "relative"

"Most moral decisions are in fact practical ones."

I should have said: "also practical ones"

Yes - and the decision to allow various CIM on suspected AQ sorts in the post 9-11 world was just such a practical decision.

But not a morally acceptable one and I doubt the practicality which has been disproven centuries ago

If a terrorist group managed to cause a nuclear meltdown and massive radiation release it might cause millions of casualties, long term health issues, widespread contamination

And what exactly makes you think that torturing suspects would change all that? Why did we renounce torture in the first place if it was so effective in reducing crime?

As for false alarms - thats part of security anyway - ever been in a building that was evacuated due to a phone call?

Yep, and I think there's a difference, moral or not, between leaving a building in vain and facing torture while being innocent

If the CIA feels CIM is important enough to continue despite the sort of umbrage it arrouses from the usual, and some not usual ( McCain ) sources - then I take it THEY feel it has value

So the CIA gets to decide what has "value" and the rest is silence?

Do explain how this "regular confession" thing works in the WoT with captured AQ?
Did you read about the effectiveness of waterboarding on the number 3 AQ captured in Pakistan when he refused to talk

Frankly, what the CIA choses to disclose to us about the "effectiveness" of waterboarding carries rather less weight with me. So what did he confess? (ah thats secret of course). Would he have confessed without waterboarding?

leaving aside your witch fixation - torture was abolished - but CIM has continued in various forms to this day. Watch NYPD Blue and see Sipowitz in action threatening a suspected perp - THAT is called "torture" by many people

"Waterboarding" is torture, calling it "CIM" is just semantics

Strawman number 2 - "where will it end!"
Well - we incarcerate people until trial and then after conviction - but I don't see anyone asking "where will it end - they will come for me next at 3AM!"

Oh we do, and as a matter of fact it can happen. But you can defend yourself properly and that's why most people do sleep well at night.

Bringing things to absurd extremes and suggesting we will eventually get there is we allow X is not pursuasive

Sure, I mean, the Nuremberg Laws weren't that bad and didn't lead to Kristallnacht and ultimately Auschwitz

Thanks - I think the CIA and DOD have a better understanding of the practical requirements of the effort than you do.

I'm sorry but when they start abducting innocent German citizens and torture them I will not only question that "better understanding", I will fight it.

When WMD is used by terrorists - not if but when - you may understand that your "cafe, bus, plane" did not cover the extent of the threat we face.

This threat will not go away with torture

Oh really? And Iran is speeding ahead toward a nuclear weapon and their President says "we will destroy Israel!" - and yes, believe it or not, sometimes governments do things that are suicidal. I don't trust MAD to protect Israel

You fail to convince me how the torturing of suspected terrorists would stop a "suicidal government" from being suicidal.

We sacrafice a little liberty every day in exchange for security. We are all required to get and carry a license to drive - in exchange for the security we get from knowing every other person driving also has been tested.

We do in fact, and sometimes it's rather stupid. Giving up the right not to be tortured at the discretion of the CIA or law enforcement is NOT giving up a little freedom. It's giving up freedom, period.

People were rather "safe" from terrorist attacks in Iraq under Saddam. But for some reasons he isn't the best role model, is he?

On the other hand - I do lose sleep over the threat we face. Maybe you don't - but I used to work in the WTC - and THAT "disco" didn't re-open

I am very aware of the threats we face. I am also aware of threats that you don't seem to notice. 20 years ago we would put our freedom, the freedom of the Western World, above security, risking nuclear annihilation on a daily basis.

This discussion seems to have fallen into very different camps with very different positions, which are not even close to ever being reconciled. One, where many Americans find themselves, is about the selective use of various integration techniques and the need to obtain intelligence to conduct anti-terrorist operations.

The second camp, which really is all others, thinks not only are the interrogation techniques torture but should never ever be used and to allow there use is a path to giving up individual freedoms.

The very simple answer to this is to allow each nation to follow what is in its own best interest. The reality is that is what nations do.

A recent poll finds the following: In America, 61 percent of those surveyed agreed torture is justified at least on rare occasions. Almost nine in 10 in South Korea and just over half in France and Britain felt that way.

Like always the Germans have a problem with this. They seem to be very divided on this issue.

So while Rofe proudly stands with McCain, the majority of Americans do not. Of course, the majority of Americans I believe have given up the illusion that the Germans stand with the US on anything.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10345320/#storyContinued

A practical solution for the Germans would be not to accept any intelligence from the US as it might have been obtained through the use of torture and for the US not to offend the Germans by not offering to share any intelligence. Problem solved.


As an aside having been subjected to the 6 interrogation techniques referenced by the WashPo during Survival, Evasion, Resistance And Escape (SERE) Training, it is not torture. Then again I do not happen to be either German or European so my point of reference is different.

As for the knock on the door in the middle of the night again not being German or European, I have little to reference this to in my history to cause me to actually fear this.


@Joe

>>"A recent poll finds the following: In America, 61 percent of those surveyed agreed torture is justified at least on rare occasions. Almost nine in 10 in South Korea and just over half in France and Britain felt that way.<<

Your poll is meaningless. I believe that torture is justified at least on rare occasions (very rare that are unlikely ever to arise in practice). I suspect every one of the 90 out of 100 Senators who voted to outlaw torture feel the same way. You can go off and construct an imaginery world of "moral absolutists" and reasonable people who support the casual use of torture if you like, but don't fool yourself into thinking that imaginery world is in any way relevant to the debate.

In your imaginery world, every terrorist is in the process of carrying a nuclear weapon, or releasing a biological agent. If only you're allowed to torture, you will surely catch 100% of them. Come back to the real world, where the odds that you will ever catch such a terrorist are vanishingly small, as are the chances you will ever know such a terrorist is in your hands until his pals have carried out their attack. Come back to the real world where the Administration is trying to sell the casual use of torture against mostly innocent civilians as a matter of course to the American people. Come back to the real world, in which the "gains," if any, from the use of torture are dwarfed, and will continue to be dwarfed by the tremendous damage its use has caused and will continue to cause to our security, our ideals, and our fight against terror. Come back to the real world in which the use of torture has tremendously strengthened and played into the hands of our enemies.

Sometimes I can't even believe we are having this debate. A bunch of religious fanatics get lucky and kill 3000+ people, and we are suddenly in a "war," and have to throw all our liberties out the window. We have over 25,000 firearm deaths every single year in the US, and over 40,000 traffic fatalities. Is anyone suggesting we throw out the Bill of Rights and introduce a police state because of that? Hundreds of thousands have died defending the liberties we are now supposed to casually discard because we are all so terribly threatened by the evil terrorists. What fine Americans you people are, what brave defenders of the faith your fathers fought and died for! One successful attack, and all you can think of is crawling under a rock and bleating about your illusory "security." One successful attack that in no way threatens our existence as a nation and, suddenly, you are drawing dire parallels with the need to suspend habeus corpus during the Civil War. What wimps you people are, what rabbits! Why don't you all get together and sign a mutual self-torturing pact. The rest of us will defend the liberties our forefathers passed down to us.

@Rofe

Unfortunately, America now uses torture and some Americans robustly advocate its continued use.

Crapola !

Nowhwere is even a hint of evidence for this! Better , substantiate your ill-gotten assertion .

After you have done this, I will list proposed and ‘approved’ means of coercion and my sources.

As Senator McCain correctly sums up the situation, "This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies." Or not, as the case may be.

McCain prefaced his remarks with : “ This is a fight for survival” . He also speaks in third person when tacitly condoning ‘torture’ in the most rarest of cases to save ‘a whole city from sure annihilation’.

Besides , McCain stands for codifying 'non-torture' , there are already enough codes against torture and it's definitions.

It is absurd to imply , that the Bush admministration diverges in principle from McCain's resentment against torture. This resentment is a 'motherhood-and-apple-pie-issue' - a non-issue really. All the more opportune , to pile up sound bites for the next presidential campaign. And too tantalizing for the leftists not to sink their fangs into it - it = information foam.

Much fuss about ‘no-brainers’.

@ Helian
They [CIA] have, in fact, tortured people to death.
In fact , show the facts pls. But not Pravda et al .
And , btw, nobody get's 'tortured to death': cadavers don't speak.


The officer Sullivan quotes in his article, Ian Fishback,
As usual, third person hearsay , of ONE source , no sworn affidavits , no verification of it, fishy blah blah blah ... Same journalistic tools as employed by S. Hersh from the ‘New Yorker ‘ : ‘former’ ; 'anonymous sources’ ; ‘been said that’ ...

And 'Helian', if you have to buttress the points of your arguments with completely unrelated subjects, then they are really not fit to stand on their own merit , are they?

“ This is a fight for survival” = past 'push' - past 'shove'- past a lot of hypocrisy.

Regards .... Heinz

Earth to Planet Chomsky! News Alert from today's Wall Street Journal - read it and weep, you bozos. (free registration required) http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007646

"The danger here is less to America--which will continue to protect itself in any case--than it is to Europe. The phony outrage over American anti-terror practices will only make it harder for European governments to take the actions required to stop terror on their soil--witness French paralysis in the wake of the recent riots.

More dangerous for the longer term, the Continent's preening anti-Americanism has also been duly noted on this side of the Atlantic. Europeans should worry that their moral hauteur may well be repaid by American popular opinion the next time they call on the Yanks to put down one of their homegrown fascists."

Ahoy, Planet Chomsky! Chompsky on this, you phony demagogues: from today's Wall Street Journal.(free registration required) http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110007646

"Condi's European Torture"
Mock outrage over "secret" terror prisons.

Wednesday, December 7, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

"It has been quite the spectacle this week, with Condoleezza Rice touring Europe amid mock dismay over the fact that the CIA may have detained terrorists in European jails. If the Secretary of State weren't so diplomatic, she'd cancel her tour and say she won't come back until the Continent's politicians decide to grow up.

One of Europe's moral conceits is to fret constantly about the looming outbreak of fascism in America, even though it is on the Continent itself where the dictators seem to pop up every couple of decades. Then Europe dials 9-11, and Washington dutifully rides to the rescue. The last time was just a few years ago, as U.S. firepower stopped Slobodan Milosevic, who had bedeviled Europe for years.

In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe's security problem. But instead the U.S. Secretary of State has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of "secret" prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans."

@Fondue: In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe's security problem. But instead the U.S. Secretary of State has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of "secret" prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans."

Uhm... actually, we don't know what's going on in those closed meetings, and my bet is on Condi Rice lecturing THEM about security in Europe.

How else could Schroeder have been permitting CIA operations in Germany while publically berating the US and its "illegal" war?

What the alleged "news" media says about European politicians lecturing Rice is what the alleged "news" media presumes happened. None of them were there. They only have what Schroeder TOLD them happened.


To noone's surprize, the exact same double standards occur in France.

You cannot, you should not, take part in the debate on torture unless you have first read the brilliant analysis by Charles Krauthammer...

@LC Mamapajamas: "War on climate change targets flatulent cows"
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1903311,00.html

"Scientists and green groups concerned about climate change have traditionally focused their efforts on cars, lorries, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide. But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame."

That's what I like about the French - farting cows are a higher priority than the Islamo-fascists living in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. No wonder the Krauts mopped them up in short order in 1940: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/paris.htm

When the French and British "alleged" scientists get finished with these offensive cows, hopefully they'll be targeting you, your fellow conspiracy mavens, and the Comskyites who have polluted the atmosphere in this blog with their "torture" methane.

@Erik S: Thanks, Erik, for your refreshingly sane post with the link to Krauthammer's article. Unfortunately, this will not be sufficient to roll back the tidal wave of stupidity posted here by Chomsky's torture "experts". Those boneheads are still full of the bubbly consumed in their ongoing celebrations of Harold Pinter's recent Nobel Prize: http://www.haroldpinter.org/home/index.shtml#
For a more rational interpretation, see:
http://www.welt.de/z/plog/blog.php/the_free_west/the_free_wests_weblog/2005/12/07/pinter_throws_up

@Fondue: @LC Mamapajamas: "War on climate change targets flatulent cows"
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1903311,00.html

"Scientists and green groups concerned about climate change have traditionally focused their efforts on cars, lorries, power stations and factories that burn fossil fuels and produce millions of tons of carbon dioxide. But a study by French scientists published this year warned that flatulent farm animals must shoulder some of the blame."

That's what I like about the French - farting cows are a higher priority than the Islamo-fascists living in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. No wonder the Krauts mopped them up in short order in 1940: http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/paris.htm

When the French and British "alleged" scientists get finished with these offensive cows, hopefully they'll be targeting you, your fellow conspiracy mavens, and the Comskyites who have polluted the atmosphere in this blog with their "torture" methane.

Excuse me?

I'm on YOUR side on this thing.

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