Newsweek: Torture Does Not Merit Accountability

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham:

[T]o pursue criminal charges against officials at the highest levelsóincluding the former president and the former vice presidentówould set a terrible precedent. . . . That is not to say presidents and vice presidents are always above the law; there could be instances in which such a prosecution is appropriate, but based on what we know, this is not such a case.

True enough - war crimes and torture are not really all that bad in the scheme of things, lawbreaking wise. After all, Presidents and Vice Presidents are usually above the law, Meacham tells us. It's not like having private consensual sex (oh wait, that's not a crime.) The Village is incredible.

Speaking for me only

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    That point cannot be made often enough (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by Coral on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:46:05 AM EST
    private consensual sex vs. torture and manufacturing of information in order to justify war.

    Which one of these crimes is an impeachable offense?

    Which is a crime? (none / 0) (#59)
    by Amiss on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:01:15 PM EST
    Which one of these crimes is an impeachable offense?

    Only one is a crime, private consensual sex is NOT a crime is it?


    Actually (none / 0) (#70)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:13:53 PM EST
    it was in many states at that time.  There were anti-sodomy laws on the books of many states (including DC, where this took place), and many states have anti-fornication laws.

    Now, they were rarely, if ever, enforces, but yes, they technically were a crime.


    This issue (5.00 / 8) (#2)
    by CST on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:53:04 AM EST
    is becomming increasingly difficult to follow, on a personal level.

    The lack of concern by the press, politicians, and according to some polls, the american people, about torture is deafening and depressing.

    To repeat myself from the other day, I can't believe we are even having this discussion in 2009.  I really can't believe we are LOSING this discussion in 2009.  It makes me want to scream/cry.

    For all those who argue that we have to do this to save ourselves from the "terrorists" - how exactly are you any better than said "terrorists"?  Al Queda said they wanted to destroy America.  Well, I'd say they're winning.  And they couldn't have done it without us.

    I can't take it either (5.00 / 8) (#5)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:06:57 AM EST
    I don't know anyone even talking about it in any real way, other than on this blog. Anyone at work who talks about it is just interested in as David Gregory calls it 'the politics of torture'. When the media insists on framing it that way, the sheeple follow.

    There are no ideals about what this nation stands for, except for making a lot of money. Apparently that was all the Cold War was all about - not the repression and torture in the communist regimes, just the lack of markets.


    It IS frustrating, (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by NJDem on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:38:14 AM EST
    but I believe the release of the photos later this month will change things (see the Abu Ghrib story for an example).  

    People may not read anymore (or as much or on the topics as we would wish), but we are a very visual culture and I think those images, assuming they're pretty bad, will greatly effect how this story is told, spread, and remembered.    


    I hope (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:16:23 PM EST
    you're right but who knows?

    Could it be possible that the blog sites (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:06:17 AM EST
    are out of step on this?

    Not a question of steps (5.00 / 8) (#34)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:13:22 AM EST
    A question of crimes, war crimes, it's black and white.

    War crimes and crimes under US law were committed.

    Not hard to understand if you actually care about the rule of law.


    Sure, a war crime charge (none / 0) (#86)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 05:16:50 PM EST
    brought for waterboarding the mastermind of 9/11?

    That's pretty funny.

    Or, how about proving criminal intent when DOJ has said in writing, on multiple occasions, that the techniques are legal?

    Jeez, I thought some of you were criminal lawyers.


    we probably would have been out of step (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:52:21 AM EST
    on slavery too, if blogs were around 150 years ago....(considering we are for human rights, not against them, no matter what the GREAT populous and media think)

    doesn't mean we would have been wrong


    Greenwald is also (none / 0) (#69)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:05:11 PM EST
    all over it...read him today.

    Didn't mean to leave him out (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:39:16 PM EST
    Definitely also on my daily reading list. Digby as well.

    So much for American "exceptionalism"' (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Coral on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:14:01 AM EST
    Not that I ever had too many illusions about the ideals woven into the fabric of the national rhetoric.

    However, those ideals used to be talked about with a certain measure of sincerity, no matter how blind (and vaguely hypocritical). Recently, especially with Bush and the GOP, that has devolved into blatantly cynical rhetoric, using "freedom" to justify...well...horrors that one expects to see only in the 9th circle of hell.

    Need some Civics 101 in the schools, and less "24" on the TV.


    Polish pianist criticizes (none / 0) (#56)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:56:52 AM EST
    U.S. from stage @ Disney Hall:



    What? The TSA.... (none / 0) (#67)
    by desertswine on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:26:27 PM EST
    destroyed his piano because the glue smelled funny? The height of absurdity.

    some of the replies on that sight (none / 0) (#68)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:33:40 PM EST
    are pretty scary...

    and when are we going to stop trying to be 'the greatest country in the world' (qualifier needed) and just try to be a GREAT COUNTRY (no qualifier needed)...


    Local Police (none / 0) (#26)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:03:10 AM EST
    Can use these techniques. They are perfectly legal. Since no one can be prosecuted for them, and we will have all those people from Iraq coming home soon, why waste their training? (</Sarcastic font>)

    You prosecute them or it gets worse next time. If "Catch and Release" gets upgraded to "Torture and Release", how will you be able to ever get a court judgement against them, especially if you don't know who they are?


    God (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by lilburro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:57:27 AM EST
    Still, it seems likely that the interrogations, among other things, including surveillance, helped us prevent further terrorist attacks.

    Even if you ignore the fact that Meachum seems to have no issue with war crimes, it's hard to debate torture as a "policy difference" when based on no evidence whatsoever, people like Meachum say it worked.  

    We are never, ever going to get away from torture if these fools have anything to do with it.

    A third way would be a 9/11-style bipartisan commission that would include clear supporters of the Bush administration. Such a panel would meet largely in private, have the power to grant immunity to witnesses and be charged with answering, as clearly as possible, the central question of whether Bush's war on terror in its entirety saved lives.

    I would much prefer these folks face the nation and explain exactly why they had to waterboard one person 183 times in one month.

    Oh yes, nice and tidy (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Fabian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:44:06 AM EST
    meet behind closed doors...

    Reminds me of the Bush administration being generous enough to let officials testify in private, without being under oath and without a transcript instead of testifying under oath, in public in front of a House or Senate committee.

    Accountability isn't served when you give people multiple ways to avoid actually being held accountable.


    But it didn't work! (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:13:15 AM EST
    There is No proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks on America.

    It was a crime in WWII when the Japanese did it we EXECUTED them for it. It was a crime when the Khmer Rouge did it, and when Ferdinand Marcos did it. It was a crime in 1983 when an upitty Sheriff got the jump on Bush and did it to his inmates. It was a crime when Bush/Cheney did it in your name.

    Just remember, until they are convicted, you are an accomplice (Silence constitutes acceptance).


    "harsh" (none / 0) (#39)
    by Coral on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:17:04 AM EST
    please save us from the term "harsh interrogation". That is simply a euphemism for torture.

    The use of that term is something that just makes me scream every time I hear it on the news.


    Sorry I made you scream (none / 0) (#81)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 02:19:35 PM EST
    The torture, in my case, of you, was inadvertent. I simply copied and pasted the "tag line" for the link. To me, these people are torturers, and every act a war crime.

    Did you see Liz Cheney on MSNBC, claiming that waterboarding wasn't torture, that the finally released memos proved that? Made me want to scream.


    We don't even know it's stopped (none / 0) (#82)
    by cenobite on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 02:21:04 PM EST
    Unless there are investigations and prosecutions, we don't even know they aren't still doing it.

    An ex-CIA officer says last time the CIA got into this stuff was in the 80s in Lebanon (they used the Maronite militias to do the "wet work"), and when they were ordered to stop, the field guys refused their orders because they had become so enamored of torture.


    Meacham gets more annoying (5.00 / 5) (#4)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:57:45 AM EST
    every time I see or hear him.
    each time I think he can not be more annoying.  and then he is.

    Surely they can not believe (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by pluege on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:20:05 AM EST
    what they write. There has to be pure pay off of some kind even if limited to 'write something nice or else' threats from the plutocrats.

    No Meacham is really this much of (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:40:42 AM EST
    a dullard and a coward.  He reveres authority and authoritarians.  It is inconceivable to him that Cheney or Bush would be challenged in this way.  They are "elite" and "special" and he will defend them regardless of how tragically flawed they are or how destructive they are.  He will always find a way to rationalize their behavior because he believes they are that special.  

    That is not to say that presidents and vice (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by No Blood for Hubris on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    presidents are always above the law, but sometimes they are.

    Orwell, in grave, turns, muttering:  "Told you so, did I not?:
    'All animals are created equal.  But some are more equal than others.'"

    When Meacham says, (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:23:14 AM EST
    "That is not to say that presidents and vice presidents are always above the law," why does he use the word "always?"  Doe he mean to suggest that "sometimes" they are above the law?  

    It's pretty bad when private and consensual sexual acts between two consenting adults are more shocking to the conscience than a policy of torture that involved people at the highest levels of government and was developed and implemented with the help of even more people in the government, assisted by elected representatives, and was built on a body of lies that continues to grow in magnitude and effect.

    But, part of the problem is articles like the one that appeared in the WaPo yesterday:

    A 2005 memo by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel said that Mohammed and Abu Zubaida, the nom de guerre of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, an al-Qaeda associate who was also subjected to coercive interrogation, have been "pivotal sources because of their ability and willingness to provide their analysis and speculation about the capabilities, methodologies and mindsets of terrorists."

    Counterterrorism officials also said the two men and other captured suspects provided critical information about senior al-Qaeda figures and identified hundreds of al-Qaeda members, associates and financial backers.

    The accumulation and triangulation of information also allowed officials to vet the intelligence they were receiving and to push other prisoners toward making full and frank statements.

    Mohammed continued to be a valued source of information long after the coercive interrogation ended. Indeed, he has gone on to lecture CIA agents in a classroom-like setting, on topics from Greek philosophy to the structure of al-Qaeda, and wrote essays in response to questions, according to sources familiar with his time in detention.

    Note the title of the article: Effectiveness of Harsh Questioning is Unclear.  

    As long as torture is treated as a mere policy issue and the debate is framed in terms of effectiveness, a thinking person can grasp that as long as a compelling case can be made that torture is effective, not only will its use not send anyone to jail, but it will remain a viable option.  

    And that, apparently, is the two-fer these people are going for: no punishment for those involved, and the option on the table for future presidents.

    The mind reels.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:26:58 AM EST
    Dennis Blair says it worked.

    Didn't the last 4 CIA heads also (2.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:07:47 AM EST
    say it worked?

    Let's see (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:12:15 AM EST
    Hayden, check.

    Goss, check.

    Tenet, incomplete, but probably check.

    No, just 3 of the last 4. The 3 that are implicated as war criminals.

    Everyone else with knowledge on the subject says it does not work and did not work.

    But it is all so simple my friend, a truth commission will let us all be able to judge the issue.

    And who opposes that?


    And I'm sure they would prefer (none / 0) (#49)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:29:42 AM EST
    to make this a debate about effectiveness, because as long as it's about whether it works or not, people are not focusing on the bigger picture: is it right?  Is this who we are, or who we want to be?  Is it something a democratic nation should condone?  Does it comport with the treaties to which we are a party?  Does it negate our credibility on human rights issues around the world?  Does it have the effect of making Obama look like a fool as he gives speeches about evil in the world and Holocaust-deniers, even as people at the highest levels of government want to deny that what we did was torture?

    Maybe the 3-out-of-4 thing works when you're talking about chewing gum or ice cream or skin care, but I'm not inclined to adjust my opinion on torture based on 3 out of 4 CIA chiefs lauding its effectiveness.


    Well. there you go. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:34:55 AM EST
    Game, set. match.

    What are we going to hear from these a$$hats next?  That Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Gonzales and Ashcroft and the yuk-a-pucks from the OLC had endless dark nights of the soul wrestling with the decisions and came up with the best way to keep the country safe without going over the line?

    I mean, we can't feel sorry for terrorist-detainees, now, can we?  Why, they're not even really people, apparently.

    So that leaves building a sympathetic case for these American patriots, so dedicated and so unbelievably burdened with critical and difficult decisions they gladly took on so we wouldn't have to.

    Pardon me while I locate a trashcan to throw up in.


    Lecturing CIA agents re Greek (none / 0) (#21)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:48:20 AM EST
    philosophy?  Bizarre.

    There could be instances... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Dadler on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:32:12 AM EST
    ...in which such a prosecution is appropriate?

    But not, apparently, when mass degradation and death are involved.

    The underlying assumption of his argument is that, yes, Clinton's type of perseonal foibles are what you go after, but things of destructively public and national nature are simply too "they-were-just-doing-what-they-truly-thought-was-necessary-to-protect-the-nation" to appropriately investigate.

    Down is up when there's no gravity in your brain.

    If the rationale is that "it works", (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by DFLer on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:36:48 AM EST
    where is any line drawn then?
    As Steve Chapman wrote:

    And if effectiveness is the only gauge, why even debate whether these techniques fit the definition of torture? The problem with using "it worked" as an argument is that it justifies too much. By that rationale, we can justify subjecting enemy captives to every form of torture ever devised. We can even justify torturing and killing their spouses, siblings, parents and children, right in front of them.

    Cheney and others have yet to advocate going that far. But if they really believe what they say about the techniques we've used, here's a question they need to answer: Why not?

    When talking heads say that if torture would prevent the deaths of American, re 911, then that's okay, they should be asked if the killing or torture of relatives would make the perp spill the beans, and prevent whatever, is that also okay?

    Well (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:39:18 AM EST
    it worked for Jack Bauer. Remember the episode when he threatened to kill a terrorists' family?

    That terrorists cracked like a twig and gave up "high yield information" just like that.

    There is the evidence Stuart Taylor has been referring to.  


    Stalin (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Coral on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:19:27 AM EST
    did this in the Moscow show trial, where confessions were extracted by torture and threats to defendants' families (many of whom were actually imprisoned and/or killed).

    It certainly worked to get them to confess to things they had not done.


    Torture and threats work for a lot of things (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:46:00 PM EST
    for example, if one wants sex from an unwilling person, one can threaten them with physical harm.
    So then they have sex.  Sure it's called rape but it works....


    I cannot believe anyone with a conscience uses "but it works" when it comes to criminal behavior.


    I can't even quite chuckle at that (none / 0) (#17)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:41:49 AM EST
    because it's probably true.

    The whole "it works" (none / 0) (#22)
    by CST on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:49:55 AM EST
    argument is one of the sickest parts.  You know what else "works"?  This.  The only difference is what they used it for.

    Yikes. Dreadful. (none / 0) (#46)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:22:51 AM EST
    President Obama speechifying (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:13:18 AM EST
    on C-SPAN right now at the Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony...talking about evil.  "Eisenhower understood the danger of silence.  What he did to record the crimes of history is what we do here today.....the lessons we have learned....bearing witness is not the end of our obligations...we know that evil has not run its course...to this day there are those who insist that the Holocaust never happened...today and every day we have an opportunity..."

    Words...more words...

    Disgusting (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:14:38 AM EST
    Yes, Obama is disgusting on this issue.

    How do you suppose (none / 0) (#51)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:35:35 AM EST
    he rationalizes it?

    I fancy that somehow people like the president compartmentalize these issues and weigh them against others, imagining that their good deeds outweigh the bad, that they convince themselves that something unacceptable in any other time and place is 'necessary' in this one...

    When the 'necessity' is a political one, all the more unforgiveable.


    Need to ask that question of Jon (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:58:31 AM EST

    Heh. The president's mindreader (none / 0) (#61)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:14:20 PM EST
    is also the decider?

    Chicken?  Egg?


    Really (4.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:23:13 PM EST
    there's no rationalizing to it. Obama does what he thinks is best for Obama. He think that letting Bush off the hook is apparently the best thing for Obama. That's his history and it continues to be so.

    How does he do it (none / 0) (#74)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:42:36 PM EST
    and how does anyone listen with a straight face? Truly disturbing. I've heard of compartmentalization, but this this is really extreme.

    Obama & Holder are the issue now (5.00 / 2) (#54)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:47:56 AM EST
    In its first filing on detention and torture under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice filed briefs in March urging the Court of Appeals to reject any constitutional or statutory rights for detainees. The Obama Justice Department further argued that even if such rights were recognized, the Court should rule that the previous administration's officials who ordered and approved torture and abuse of the plaintiffs should be immune from liability for their actions.

    I know it's legal-ese (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by CST on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:00:42 PM EST
    but this line says everything to me about the approach taken to this issue:

    Court Of Appeals Rules Detainees are not "Persons" in Guantánamo Torture Suit

    When you stop seeing people as people, you can justify any action.

    It reminds me of the 3/5 rule.

    And yes, I know it's a "technical" term.


    It's kind of like (none / 0) (#64)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:21:31 PM EST
    a court supported signing statement, isn't it?

    After all, if they aren't real people, then we can ignore laws against torture?

    And we won't have to go to all fuss and inconvenience and bother of prosecuting people who tortured people who aren't people.

    Saves everybody a whole lot of grief, right?

    Cool. :-/


    Obviously an 11 dimensional chess move. (none / 0) (#66)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:23:30 PM EST
    The man moves in mysterious ways...

    um, no green26, (5.00 / 1) (#83)
    by cpinva on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 02:25:55 PM EST
    but can you not see a difference between rank and file soldiers in the field and someone who planned 9/11?

    i can't. torture is torture, period, regardless of who it's done to, or what possible crime they may have committed. it's wrong and it's illegal, under multiple laws and treaties.

    It is a war crime and a crime under US law to use these techniques on anyone.

    except, congress hasn't actually declared war on anyone. since the appeals court determined that these detainees aren't "persons", there will be those arguing that they don't fall under any laws or treaty obligations.

    just you wait!

    Well (none / 0) (#14)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:38:33 AM EST
    On some level I guess we need another incident where our soldiers are captured and torture is threatened so that torture can become completely unacceptable again....Not that I ever want that to happen, but it will be interesting seeing how the Village Idiots rationalize their inconsistency.

    All I can say is we'd certainly better stay the superest-superpower.  Otherwise, we'll have our very own Nuremburg someday.  With any luck, I won't be around to see it.

    Our soldiers captured in Iraq (2.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:12:13 AM EST
    are often tortured and killed.

    The US has not been using these techniques on rank and file soliders. The techniques have been used on a limited number of high value detainees and perhaps others in similar categories.

    Waterboarding was used on 3 high level detainees, one of whom was the mastermind of 9/11 and the person who beheaded Daniel Pearl.

    I understand that your arguments against these techniques and tortue apply to everyone, but can you not see a difference between rank and file soldiers in the field and someone who planned 9/11?


    Ahhhh, Green.....torture is (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by oldpro on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:17:08 AM EST
    not about the victim alone.  It is about the torturer as well...and those who allow or sponsor torture of anyone for any reason.

    Selective reasoning (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:19:14 AM EST
    Torture is okay if....

    When is murder okay?  When is murdering a family member of a captive okay?


    What about the death penalty? (none / 0) (#85)
    by Green26 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 05:12:44 PM EST
    That's legal in many states.

    It is a war crime (5.00 / 4) (#42)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:19:23 AM EST
    and a crime under US law to use these techniques on anyone.

    You are an embracer of torture and lawbreaking.

    Simple as that.


    Green26 is an obvious troll (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by shoephone on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:05:30 PM EST
    Notice how he throws his barbs in and then never responds to your responses?

    In addition (none / 0) (#44)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:20:11 AM EST
    Other countries may consider our captive soldiers "high level detainees".  What is a high level detainee?

    Oh and one more to add (none / 0) (#48)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:28:28 AM EST
    So if enemies captured Obama (a presumably high level target), your logic dictates that it would be okay to torture him?  Right?

    You have no way of knowing (none / 0) (#75)
    by ruffian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:44:19 PM EST
    this is true:

    The US has not been using these techniques on rank and file soliders. The techniques have been used on a limited number of high value detainees and perhaps others in similar categories.

    Waterboarding was used on 3 high level detainees, one of whom was the mastermind of 9/11 and the person who beheaded Daniel Pearl.

    Even if it were the point. At all.


    That's no different than (none / 0) (#77)
    by Jjc2008 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:48:13 PM EST
    saying that it's OK to rape a prostitute.  After all if he/she has sex for a living why not just force sex on them......
    or it's OK to rape a woman who is dressed a certain way.......

    Do you not get it....
    torture is WRONG.  PERIOD.  END OF STORY.


    All detainees were abused (none / 0) (#80)
    by lilybart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 02:06:52 PM EST
    I saw the photos of Abu Graihb, did YOU?

    What I saw in those photos was torture. Because they had no idea we would stop at naked pyramids and by the way, those photos included stress positions and DEAD GUYS we abused to death.

    didn;t we consider all fighters to be terrorists and not rank and file soliders?


    I doubt that will do it. (none / 0) (#18)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:43:22 AM EST
    I remember a lot of people defending the Abu Gharib photos by taking about the beheading of Daniel Pearle.  What we have on our hands is a movement to become a nation with an instutionalized torture program and any and all violence against our military personnel are going to be used to support the movement's case - not slow it down.

    OT Congresswoman Donna Edwards, (none / 0) (#20)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:46:18 AM EST
    Rep, Kieth Ellison and three other US Reps have been arrested outside the embassy in Sudan - by Sudanese authorities (I'm guessing) - wow.  

    Okay - the first news report I heard (none / 0) (#24)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:57:01 AM EST
    made me think that the US Reps were actually in Sudan and arrested by the Sudanese govit.

    Never mind.  They were in DC protesting.  SORRY.


    Seems very unlikely! (none / 0) (#25)
    by Fabian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:01:14 AM EST
    Not that Congress people wouldn't go to Sudan, but that they would be arrested there.  The last thing Sudan needs is the USofA taking a close, personal interest in them(/it?).

    Well, there was this "breaking!" banner (none / 0) (#37)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:14:36 AM EST
    on MSNBC and the way that Novotny first reported it, she called them "a delegation" and I thought she was saying that they were in Sudan - not in front of their embassy in DC.  Which would have huge news, not to mention a really difficult international crisis.  The Sudanese government is pretty outrageous - they've found very few limits to their behavior - so as shocking as the idea was - I didn't really think it totally outside the realm of possibility.  Then she came back and clarified along with video tape of some variety of DC-based cops arresting them.  Again my apologies.

    Heh. No apologies needed. (none / 0) (#63)
    by Fabian on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 12:20:31 PM EST
    Even whacko governments have some instinct for self preservation.

    Framing: (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 10:54:21 AM EST
    what are known as enhanced interrogation tactics--or, in the popular vocabulary, as torture--

    it's actually a very nuanced (none / 0) (#29)
    by Turkana on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:09:49 AM EST
    take on nixon-

    they're not always about the law- only sometimes. only the chosen can figure out when.

    Newsweek: Torture (none / 0) (#52)
    by joze46 on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 11:35:57 AM EST
    It is with chuckle, and some giggle laughter I read an article in this blog by Newsweek: Torture Does Not Merit Accountability. Yet, in the same instance of time glance up to look at my television while watching C-Span a grand ceremony is in progress to never forget the Holocaust. The opening of the ceremony was with a speech that included Supreme Court Justice Scalia. It get's funnier.

    Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham, a person likely connected to hardwire corruption via MSNBC is as flip as Antonin Scalia connected to the Republican Party black rope gangsters. Here we have Meacham in the glamorous glitz of Morning Joe with today's funny news theater with news you can't use. Here Scalia now says in his great Juris prudence grandeur, what we do matters. Are you laughing yet? Then we know the Supreme Court gets to decide not to hear anything they don't want too. Did you crack a smile yet?  

    Another wining duo this morning was Andrea Mitchell wife of former Federal Reserve board chairman Allen Greenspan. We have to admire Allen from avoiding blame for greatest atrocity ever created in a modern economy who for the last couple of decades built the horror of this incendiary economic trillion dollar mess. With Kerns Goodwin the historian likely given preference to secret actions of insider stuff to share with Andrea to write books receive prizes and give Goodwin reason for domestic violence or motivation to tinker twittle and twitter on the Internet. Yes their life is fun and easy, while our's is filled with resume writing, and the new studies in the good book of screwing up for the electorate in chapter 11.

    All of us should at least join in concert and sing forever that Bush and company Cheney too at the minimum was a "POLITICAL KLUTZ". Personally the thing that always made me wonder was the simple correlation of the Neo-Con right in condemning homosexuality in its actions presumably by sexual anal intercourse that does not suggest real sex. Compared to water boarding when it is perpetrated by stuffing one with a wet rag over the mouth and nose spilling water all approaching what simulates drowning "IS OK" Sheesh. For me thinking in both these ideals is bizarre.

    As Ja  Ja Binx was banished because he is sayin he was a klutz perhaps that is our solution for Bush and Cheney.          

    Reagan's (none / 0) (#72)
    by Edger on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:38:06 PM EST
    DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff For Waterboarding Prisoners

    Federal prosecutors secured a 10-year sentence against the sheriff and four years in prison for the deputies. But that 1983 case - which would seem to be directly on point for a legal analysis on waterboarding two decades later - was never mentioned in the four Bush administration opinions released last week.


    Time to go back to Shunning. (none / 0) (#78)
    by lilybart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 01:58:36 PM EST
    In the olden days when people acted badly, they were shunned by polite society.

    We live in Peggy Noonan's neighborhood and hubby knows her well. She will now be shunned by us. We will walk by her and say out loud, "just keep walking."

    All of these torture apologists should be shunned, no more invites to cool parties etc....

    I practice shunning. Monica Crowley no longer gets to come to my house and we don't talk to her in public.

    Christians can Comparmentalize (none / 0) (#79)
    by lilybart on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 02:02:19 PM EST
    better than others. Religion has nothing to do with their everyday life, except when using their religion to make laws for all of us.

    Religion has nothing to do with their politics and Jesus doens't care what they do as long as they are saved.

    I really believe that followers of Christ CANNOT hold public office, if they were really following Christ's commandments. Not compatible.

    Jesus would not send armies to war, would not cut funding for the poor, etc.

    I've read some stuff from Quaker theologists (none / 0) (#84)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 03:31:22 PM EST
    who say that you can pretty much take any stance and find something in the Bible that agrees with it...even if you have two opposite takes on the same issue...

    and it's quite true (even for things like Baptism)...

    if more Christians were Quakers we'd probably have a better country, but that's just my opinion...


    Crimes and crimes (none / 0) (#88)
    by good grief on Mon Apr 27, 2009 at 09:36:20 PM EST
    Ruffian said:

    I don't know anyone even talking about it in any real way, other than on this blog. Anyone at work who talks about it is just interested in as David Gregory calls it 'the politics of torture'. When the media insists on framing it that way, the sheeple follow.

    I utterly agree this framing is making mud out of the torture crime (I chose the term "crime" carefully, as opposed to "debate" or "issue" or even "scandal"). If it's allowed to link to the orange place, however, McJoan had a superb diary up yesterday.

    As to BTD's reference to "the crime of consensual sex" -- somebody upthread has probably mentioned this but in case not, the crime in question at that time, IIRC, was Clinton's alleged perjury under oath in the Jones depo. Very small point but this is a site devoted to the law. That said, I personally did not believe the crime of alleged civil perjury was an impeachable offense because it did not rise to a high crime against the state (the term "high crime" stemming from the English law concept of a crime against the crown or the state). But it was a political impeachment and trial, so they did what they wanted to do anyway. That said, imo Clinton's speech at the prayer breakfast just before his impeachment was a class act.

    Question becomes when does the government (none / 0) (#89)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Apr 28, 2009 at 12:40:24 AM EST
    cross yet another line and start torturing it's own citizens...

    as long as it's the right citizens will anyone care?

    don't you love these 'domino effect' arguments...

    but really, what would stop the government, as long as it could say that the citizen is a 'terrorist'...
    and we've already heard the argument from the past administration that anyone who uses drugs is a terrorist by inference (so probably not too far away from 'legalized' torture of drug users)...

    but it would be okay, because of the type of person being tortured...(hell, the government already allows sodomy/rape in it's prisons...if that's not cruel and unusual I don't know what is

    I know I'm way off topic, but this country little by little (at least under the last MORAL party administration) starts to resemble that of the 'fictional' country in 'V'...it would probably be even closer if we knew half the stuff that went on behind closed doors...