We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Starting to write about the US debate over torture, I first turned to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary.The word derives from the Latin, to twist.Three current definitions are offered: 1. to cause anguish of body or mind; or more drastically, 2. to inflict intense pain to punish, coerce, or afford sadistic pleasure; and 3. “straining” as in distortion or overrefinement of a meaning or an argument.
That definition allows greater clarity about the positions being argued about torture.
The Geneva Conventions apply to restricting the first definition unduly against enemy state soldiers and civilians.The applicability to nonstate terrorists is not addressed.Thus, the Bush administration labeled them “enemy combatants” and tried mightily – in the midst of great uncertainty, confusion, danger, and rapidly changing events -- to blend civilized restraints with practical considerations of gaining intelligence.
The Associated Pressreport of the speech by the very liberal President of the Israeli Supreme Court at Princeton a few days ago highlighted the problem facing Western governments, “that one of the main challenges the court faces is that international law has yet to fully adapt to modern terrorist threats.”This learned lesson is important from someone widely hailed by the Left for her other positions.Israel, like other parliamentary governments, does not have a Constitution like does the US, so its supreme court ranges more widely – and liberally -- in deciding right and wrong, legal and illegal.Israel, uniquely, sits on the frontline, within and without, facing existential terrorist attacks.
Israel has taken extensive measures to restrict its armed forces from breaching this elusive line between proper actions and excessively avoidable harm to civilians and to enemy combatants.In the US, the bipartisan Congressional remedy, led by John McCain, was to restrict our military.The argument is that our military does not have the necessary professional experience to apply extensive interrogation techniques, undue use undermines the order necessary to our military, and that leads to undermining both discipline and self-respect in energetically fighting for what is right.
The Bush administration went further in, pardon the pun, agonizing or torturing itself in defining restrictive conditions for the use of extensive interrogation techniques by CIA professionals upon leading captured terrorists.
None of this has satisfied those who take a more restrictive posture.There’s the camp, including some with dedication to fighting terrorists, who believe that a purist conception of Americans requires that we don’t use extensive interrogation techniques regardless of the possible benefits or risks.Then, there’s the camp that outright opposes US battles against terrorists, sometimes trying to mask their position with support conditional on impossible and impractical crippling hamstringing, borrowing from the self-righteousness of the first camp to distract from their own true priority.This camp is allied with a third camp, politicians whose primary motivation is to exploit the arguments for their own benefit.Democrats who, in the wake of 9/11’s awakening, supported or argued forextensive use of interrogation techniques in recognition of Americans’ expectations of firm resolve then denied and flip-flopped in their pursuit of power in unseating the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress.These Democrat politicians “strain”, the third definition of torture, in distortion or overrefinement of their argument, relying upon the idealistic or contorted arguments from the first two camps.
So, now, the Obama administration is hoisted by its own petard of its own most ardent supporters in confronting the practical needs to govern and to be held responsible for America’s security.
Those within the Obama administration who argued from experience and proper caution for moderation were overruled and selective release of documents and photos launched that seek to discredit the Bush administration’s efforts, and even criminalize policy.Opponents decry this as reckless self-endangerment and self-denigration of America, and call for fuller release of the record to demonstrate both the care taken and the needed survival results.Even the New York Times recognizes the danger but, true to its Obama-lean, couches it in the politician Obama’s self-interest: “Mr. Obama and his allies need to discredit the techniques he has banned.Otherwise, in the event of a future terrorist attack, critics may blame his decision to rein in C.I.A. interrogators.”
So, there we are, tortured for the past six years by tendentious and selfish attacks from within upon our ability to withstand and overcome tenacious, brutal and serious attacks from without.Now, due to the Obama administration’s irresponsibility, we face at least three more years of torture, of undue agony, that fruitlessly weakens our unity and resolve and exposes us all to potentially greater physical threats to our well-being and very lives.Our troops on the frontline are not bemused by this Obama administration recklessness with their safety and missions, nor should be the rest of us placed closer to frontline dangers as our intelligence professionals seek cover by retreating from their duties.
I simply do not believe that most Obama's crew have a care about torture unless it serves their purposes. Throughout the press today there are responses about Obama finally finding himself and the moral compass lost by Bush. The psychopath George Soros has just been given one more opportunity to stick it to the United States. His minion, our charismatic President, continues to implement his plan.
BD ... I always liked Cheney too, and he is indeed a bulldog, but I agree that it ain't happening, not just because he's got a tremendous backlog of hate from the moonbat left, but also because his health is shaky, he's got a pacemaker and he's not getting any younger. Surely, out there somewhere, is younger, experienced bulldog with courage and smarts. Somewhere ...
It's a smokescreen...He takes the spotlight off of his administration wrecking this economy for decades by re-igniting the torture debate...It's already been talked to death hasn't it? Nothing to see here, move along folks.
Maybe we could solve some of these debate problems before they start by asking folks to define terms before they discuss something. First thing to do is to ask the Democrats to define 'torture': is it an excruciatingly painful act which leaves the tortured with permanent loss or damage of limbs or other equipment? Or is it a temporary discomfort, like immersion in water or exposure to prolonged cold or heat, or the shame of nakedness. This requirement of definition before discussion ought to weed out some of the clueless liberals who don't know about the difference, or don't care about it. Like Nancy Pelosi for instance.
Next, we should ask those liberals tossing around the words 'torture' and 'waterboarding' how many detainees in Guantanamo were waterboarded. The answer is three. Then we ask them how many of our own military were 'waterboarded' as part of SERE training [Survive, Evade, Resist, Escape]. The answer is 'thousands.' Were they permanently injured? Of course not. We don't do that.
After the the world trade center attack, I took the time to write a short letter to the President. In it I said, " I am a law abiding citizen, served in the military and pay my taxes on time... all I request of you is to protect me and my family within the borders of the US ".