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Thursday, August 27, 2009



"Maybe that doesn't excuse the practices" Good god man, what is this? soviet russia, nazi germany? What the hell is wrong with you.



You're comparing a decision to prosecute a couple innocuous phone calls to a decision to prosecute people who've murdered prisoners and tortured prisoners. And you're making the stretch that somehow information derived from torture (which is taught universally in military schools is unreliable in 99% of cases) is justification for murder and torture of prisoners, is justification for breaking the law. Do you hold nothing dear?

All laws are not equal and all violations are not equal. And if you're going to go down that fucked up path of justifying torture and murder of prisoners then you might as well justify away Gore's infractions because had he just made a few more phone calls and raised a little more money to spend in Florida, he might have more definitively won that state and he might have heeded the warning that Bin Laden was going to hi-jack planes in the US and even if he had not, he might have mobilized the military to stop the second attack, and even if he had not he probably would not have fought a second war of choice in Iraq and we would be safer from terrorism today because of it. So any way you cut it clearly it was in the interest of US lives as threatened by foreign militants/terrorists/entities/etc. for Gore to be fund raising in the White House.

You know, you write some of the most disgusting drivel I have the displeasure of reading any given day. I think I'm going to be done with this site.


FascistSocialist, do you even read the discussion before you post?

"Let's consider what kind of torture we are talking about.

Holder rests his decision on a five-year-old report by the CIA's inspector general that was declassified on Monday. The most alarming details revealed by the report involve Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the al-Qaeda chieftain said to have directed the October 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing that killed 17 members of the U.S. Navy. The report alleges that a gun was brandished during Nashiri's interrogation and that a power drill was held near him and occasionally turned on and off. Moreover, it is claimed that, on more than one occasion, shots were fired in adjoining rooms in a manner suggestive of the possibility that the CIA was executing uncooperative detainees."

Not exactly "The Inquisition" we're talking about here...

FascistSocialist - "You know, you write some of the most disgusting drivel I have the displeasure of reading any given day. I think I'm going to be done with this site."

I find it hard to believe this is the "most disgusting drivel" you read, considering many of the references you link to...


Those are not the most shocking things from the report, which I have read. Have you?


Speaking of tortured logic, you submit it may well be reasonable for ends to justify means in the case of torture but not so reasonable in the case of Massachusetts changing its law regarding an interim appointment to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat (see KB reply to me commenting on his earlier "Shenanigan" post). That there are some big differences in the two situations should go without saying, but here goes anyway.

Torturing prisoners is clearly illegal under U.S. and international law and there is no constitutional authority for an administration to subvert those laws through a justice department interpretation. This is so because torture is cruel, inhumane and ineffective as compared to legal means of interrogation. Thus the means used to achieve the ends you cite, no matter how lofty, were clearly illegal, unnecessary and repugnant--something else that should go without saying. U.S. torture was frequent, severe and sometimes resulted in death. By what legal standard could the justice department ignore that and by what logical standard do you assert Holder's action are politically motivated? To paraphrase Dorothy, "We aren't in the Bush Administration anymore KB."

What is being proposed in Massachusetts, on the other hand, is legal. The constitution specifically grants legislatures the authority to change laws like the one in question. So while I have some sympathy for the "changing rules in the middle of the game isn't cricket" argument, at least the means employed are legal. And that, I believe, makes any justification by ends unnecessary and irrelevant.


A.I.: I confess that I hadn't thought of Teddy's shenanigan in the same light as these other things. I will reply on the previous post. As to the issue of terrorism and torture: I am categorically against torture in every and all cases, except when we really need to do it. I think I have stated my problem with the "no torture ever" principle more than once, but here it is again.

The most important responsibility of the President and all inferior officers of the Federal Government is "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." You have faith that torture is never effective, but this seems to me a convenient principle. I certainly wish it were true, but I have no confidence. So, what if failing to use torture means we lose the Constitution? How long would folks have remained attached to civil liberties, let alone human rights for terrorists, had attacks kept coming after 9/11? What if worse things were in store? And without resorting to worst case scenarios, consider the effect of this on future investigations. I do not care for the Miranda rule, but I am betting you do. We may be about to start Mirandizing future terrorists. I can't think of a better way to kill the Miranda rule than that.
If the end is to preserve a system in which we can afford to care about things like torture, then I think the end justifies the means.

F.S.: the law is the law just like a whore is a whore regardless of price. Holder let Gore off hoping to be the AG in a Gore Administration. I introduce that only to demonstrate that scruples about the law are not one of Holder's conspicuous personality traits, not to make moral comparisons between cases.

No, we are not the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. Such regimes do not allow an independent press to expose their security apparatus, nor would we be talking about if we knew about it. And when totalitarians use a drill on a suspect, the drill is in the same room as the suspect. I have not endorsed the EIT's described in the current stories. I am not sure that trying to humanely torture people makes any sense, and it will certainly be less effective now that the world's terrorists know exactly what they have to fear from the CIA. I would like to hold on to a regime in which we either don't torture anyone ever (my preference) or do so only in the most extreme circumstances. I think we might lose precisely that if the President fails to act in such a moment. Imagine that we find out that the President ordered EIT to stop in a particular case, and the result seemed to be that a really atrocious act was not prevented. What would that do to the President and his party? I submit it would collapse and be replaced by one with a different approach.

I am just trying to squarely face the issue. I don't think it is "drivel" to do that. I would be sorry to see you go. You make the rest of us look moderate. But I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

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