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Friday, May 22, 2009


This shouldn't come as such a huge surprise to him. The US government classified water boarding as torture when it was used on our own troops during the Korean Conflict.

There are plenty of myths about the subject. I have a particular disgust of those in the media or politicians that keep harping on about the so-called ticking time bomb scenario. No such thing exists. This has *never* happened. Not one instance in history of such a scenario happening outside of television shows. If competent intelligence personnel are questioned on the subject, they will tell you the chances of it ever happening are infinitesimally small.

The other myth is that torture has some sort of power to convince someone to reveal information that scientifically developed methods can not.

Interrogation methods are continually developing. Our intelligence officers are amongst the best in the world. They have decades of experience and insight. I sometimes joke with my colleagues that they should become psychoanalysts, but I seriously wonder upon occasion whether there might be similarities between the two fields of expertise.

The final myth is that there is some grey area within the law that makes certain forms of torture legal.

This is completely untrue. International laws regarding this issue are explicit on the subject. No torture is allowed under any circumstance. These laws often go to great pains to make clear that this includes the chance that torture may save lives.

The reasons for torture being illegal should be obvious to anyone. Those who think torturing terrorists is in someway just must ask themselves what the consequences are when the person being tortured was only a suspect of terrorism and later found to be innocent. What happens when we slide down the slippery slope and start saying other types of dangerous criminal can be tortured? What happens when these people are also found to be innocent of the crimes they were accused of?

Do we allow our regular police officers to torture suspected serial killers? Perhaps torture those we believe have kidnapped children and may abuse or kill them?

Fortunately we don't have to struggle with those questions because they've already been answered.

We have a Constitutional law than bans any form of Cruel and Unusual Punishment.

There is no distinction made between the rights of US Citizens and foreign nationals. It says as Americans we recognize that all people have these rights.

This is our high moral ground. We won't resort to torture just to save ourselves. We won't engage in illegal activities just because we face risks, no matter how serious.

We will abide by the rule of law and protection of human dignity even if it does put ourselves at risk from harm.

The difference between bravery and cowardice is not that some people do not fear things that others do.

Bravery is the ability and conviction to do something, to stick with something, even though we are fearful.

A brave person is not one who swims with no fear, but someone who fears water and still swims with his or her children.

Those who are brave are willing to abide by our principles even though we are fearful that those very principles could put us at risk.

plenty of myths about the subject, indeed... such as the notion that the bush administration sanctioned waterboarding at gitmo as a daily routine... but anyone stupid enough to believe that waterboarding is not torture, combined with media hacks like mancow, make the debate itself torturous...

Conservative ratings giant Sean Hannity still insists that waterboarding is not torture and a sizable part of conservative America still doesn't believe waterboarding is torture. They're not stupid, but they are misinformed. Okay, Elizabeth Hasselback is stupid, but she's been more equivocal on the subject.

It was a daily routine for a couple of suspects:


So, let me get this straight, anyone who disagrees with you is a coward. Worse, they're a "torturer". Torture is not something that someone willing submits to for the sake of entertainment. This is what real torture looks like.

So, this guy spends several seconds having water poured on his face and taps out. Shaken, he declares the technique to be "torture". Well, I would have him reduced to tears, even begging for his life, if it would prevent the execution of a terrorist attack like Beslan, Bali or 9/11. And there is evidence that it did.

You say that the "ticking time bomb scenario" is a myth. It "never happens". So what? According to intelligence reports, KSM gave up information that stopped numerous terror plots around the world. I'm glad that the authorities had time to react and prevent another "man made disaster", as Obama now calls acts of terrorism.

If, as you claim, "Our intelligence officers are amongst the best in the world" with "decades of experience", and that other "scientifically developed methods " can get at the information we need, then why did they specifically request that they be allowed to use this technique? If they were not concerned about where the line should be drawn between harsh interrogation and actual torture, why ask for guidance from the DOJ? If they were indifferent to the potential for harm, why make sure that physicians and psychologists were present to evaluate the condition of the prisoners? Do torturers do these things?

Maybe we should have a system of checks and balances so that we don't do anything that might cause us to have to surrender our "high moral ground". Before the CIA uses a technique like this, they should have to outline clearly what they intend to do and accomplish. They should have to consult with the DOJ to make sure that their proposal complies with US law and international treaty obligations. Before employing the technique, they should have to brief both the President and Congress. They should have to report back on the efficacy of the program and stand accountable for the health of the prisoners. How does that sound? Oh, that's right, the CIA did all of those things and more. I guess we'll just have to go with the Mancow standard. If it makes Mancow uncomfortable it's torture.

I don't believe for a minute that sparing a terrorist the discomfort that Mancow experienced defines "bravery". Not when the lives of innocent men, women and children are on the line. And, apparently, neither does Congress since they were repeatedly briefed on the use of these techniques and did not complain about the CIA using them. Further, Congress has passed up numerous opportunities to outlaw "waterboarding" specifically, with even John McCain voting in favor of keeping it. President Obama, for all his moral posturing, still reserves the right to use waterboarding if he feels it is necessary. I guess they are all a bunch of cowards and degenerates.

"So, this guy spends several seconds having water poured on his face and taps out."

Chest-thumping conservatives have the masculine confidence of 12-year-old boys. They talk tough, and talk and talk before they fold like a cheap tent. When are you going to post your tape, Art? Show Mancow how a real man does it.

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