Senate Consequences of U.S. Torture

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Jabbadabbado, Apr 16, 2013.

  1. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    I'm not very far into the document, but ughh. This should be required reading for every American.



    Bush and Cheney are international war criminals. That's the basic conclusion of this document. We tortured. They authorized and condoned it. In light of the study, did the Obama administration do enough by doing nothing to bring torturers to justice, and has it done enough to condemn torture and do everything possible to make sure that torture does not again become the official unofficial policy (officially authorizing it but officially not calling it torture) of the United States?
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 16, 2013
  2. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

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    Look at our political climate. Does it look like we could prosecute Bush or Cheney, even if we wanted to do so?
  3. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Agreed. Any attempt by prosecute Bush or Cheney right now would not only look politically motivated, but hypocritical considering how dirty Obama's hands are.
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  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Sure. Obama is our extrajudicial drone assassination war criminal, so obviously he doesn't want to set a precedent for holding past administrations accountable for violations of human rights/war crimes.

    History will hold both administrations accountable, of course. Fifty years from now it will all fit into the picture of the relative decline of the U.S. as a Great Power in the post cold war era. Afghanistan, Iraq, the War on Terror, the "covert" Drone War.
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 16, 2013
  5. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    Move past the false notion that Obama and Bush are on opposite sides, and realize that they both share the same profession, at the same level. There is no way in hell that one President is going to actually hold a past President accountable. For one thing, that would go against the precedent set after Watergate.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    There's a broader question here though about what if anything the Obama administration has yet to do in clarifying U.S. policy or putting in place measures to help prevent it from happening again.
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    'Looking' forward honestly would mean becoming states party to the International Criminal Court. That court could theoretically prosecute Bush and even Obama, but realistically, I could never see that happen. For the US to stay away from it and to even come up with a law against it (the American Service Member Protection Act) is not only paranoid; it also flies in the face of the ideals the American government has pretended to want to spread for decades.

    So to change anything, first the paranoia must be dealt with. Now may not be a good time.
  8. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Rescinding all the memos that created the framework for the torture in the first place?
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    it's a start
    Last edited by Jabbadabbado, Apr 16, 2013
  10. Mortimer Snerd Force Ghost

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    Consequences of U.S. Torture


    1. Pain and discomfort
    2. Confessions
    3. False confessions
    4. Even less respect from the international community
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    I. Complimentarity would demand the U.S. get a shot first, and the U.S. would doubtless prosecute with a much lighter hand.

    II. Neither torture (of this sort, anyway) nor extrajudicial killing are covered under the Rome Statute of the ICC, nor would either (but especially not the former) fall under the Kampala amendment (which, btw, contains an opt out provision and will not enter into force for several years and 30 accessions, whichever comes later). In both cases you'd either need it to fall into the "grave breach" category (art. 1(c)) or the "crimes against humanity" category (art. 7), and the requirements for the later are particularly steep regarding attribution if you could get past the requirements of degree.

    Well, torture is a human rights violation (ius cogens, according to some people) and potentially a war crime if conducted in an international armed conflict (there's the escape clause!), but extrajudicial killing cannot be a war crime, definitionally, and it wouldn't be a human rights violation if occurring during wartime. So it's either extrajudicial killing, a human rights violation occurring outside of an armed conflict or it's a war crime occurring during an armed conflict. It cannot be both.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Apr 16, 2013
  12. Mr44 VIP

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    But that's not really why the ICC was organized. and in fact, it kind of diminishes the force of its entire justification. The ICC doesn't have jurisdiction over anyone who may have done something bad or questionable. The ICC handles situations involving genocide and crimes against humanity. Situations that transcend national law.

    Compare the situation in Uganda (and the now e-trendy Kony focus) , for example, where hundreds, thousands of people were murdered simply for being part of an ethnic group. Where hundreds of female civilians were sexually assaulted, and children as young as 9 and 10 are forced into military service. Those are war crimes. That is genocide. And consequently, the ICC has an active case open against the groups responsible. Look to Sudan, or what Slobodan Milosevic engineered in the former Yugoslavia. (although technically that fell under a different UN authority and wasn't handled by the ICC)

    These are completely different situations on a different scale than looking to a specific policy carried out by any President (or any Western leader for that matter) because to do so would diminish the entire purpose behind the ICC and clog the court with an endless stream of meaningless, politically based accusations. Which leads to why democratic leaders, who are beholden to open, established societies, shouldn't be subject to the ICC in the first place. (and correctly-aren't)
  13. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    Well, I wouldn't go that far. It's possible for the acts SuperWatto complained about to constitute international crimes (and indeed, even war crimes) without rising to the high threshold required by the ICC. Moreover, the goal is not to be the headquarters for war crimes prosecutions -- it's to be a place that will handle it if nation states are unwilling.

    That's not to say that the US should or shouldn't join the Rome Statute, though. Different issue. It's just that I'm not convinced joining the Rome Statute will do what SuperWatto wants it to do.
  14. Mr44 VIP

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    it's to be a place that will handle it if nation states are unwilling.

    Yes, this is exactly the point though, which is the controlling idea of my previous statement. Without getting too much into the political party aspect, although Jabba did pay the idea some lip service, world leaders make controversial decisions all the time simply based on the nature of their job. The US, as the current superpower, is highlighted more than most.

    Almost 70 years after the fact, it's trendy in some circles to try and paint Truman as a war criminal because he gave the order to use atomic weapons against Japan. Except what was the reality surrounding that order?

    When JFK gave the go-ahead to carry out the Bay of Pigs invasion, was that technically a "war of aggression" against Cuba? Maybe...However, where there other controlling geopolitical factors that lead to such a decision. Absolutely. The Cuban government at the time labeled JFK a war criminal. Was he? Does such political rhetorical diminish true war crimes? Perhaps. JFK, Johnson, and Nixon were all labeled war criminals by Vietnam War protestors, where they, or was Vietnam a specific consequence of the prevailing international situation?

    When Iron Lady Margret Thatcher invaded the Falkland Islands and fought against Argentina, the Argentinian government labeled her a war criminal, and accused her acting aggressively against Argentinian interests. In way she was, but the Falkland issue was the result of a larger dispute. There are still people who call Thatcher a war criminal even after her recent death, but what they really mean is that thay don't agree with the controversial nature of some of her decisions, not that she ever rose to the level of actual genocide.

    France invaded Haiti....and Mali...Clinton bombed medicine factories in Sudan under Operation Infinite Reach. Or did he? Clinton pre-emptively attacked sovereign nationals within the Balkans, to which Yugoslavs labeled him a war criminal, but was it that simple?

    really?

    One can look to any number of endless situations from recent history and anything and everything could be labeled a war crime by someone. But 1) such labels diminish what war crimes and genocide truly mean, and 2) the respective nations already have existing frameworks that address these concerns. So yeah, Obama is never going to prosecute Bush for being a war criminal-the primary reason is that Obama doesn't really have authority over Bush or any other President, because such authority originates from legal concepts that transcend both. But the simple reason is that there really is no moral difference either way between an "enhanced interrogation memo," and an "extra-legal drone killing" memo within their respective administrations. But also, even within the framework of these decisions, there is still oversight and accountability, and the scales aren't remotely the same to true war crimes/genocide under what the ICC is supposed to speak for.
  15. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Guys, your missing the point. Points.

    Point 1: For better or worse, America is still playing world police. But it basically puts itself above the law. It's playing world police and world judge. Go to @Mortimer Snerd's point 4.
    Point 2: Now is not a good time.
  16. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    Thank God for Mr.44. I can't believe how leftist this place has gotten. SMH. That aside, looks like the Boston Bomber is a criminal and not an enemy combatant. But Major Hasan was not considered an enemy combatant, only accused of work place violence. Why are we going back to treating terror like a crime instead of an act of war? Obama's policies have returned us to being terror victims and it doesn't change that fact when you deny the terror. It's Clinton all over again.
    Last edited by J-Rod, Apr 22, 2013
  17. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    Seems to me that you're arguing semantics. Tsarnaev faces the death penalty as he would in a military tribunal. He is also an American citizen who committed crimes in America and was captured in America. So why so eager to not have him in front of a civilian court?
    Last edited by Point Given, Apr 22, 2013
  18. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    Because he is, in point of fact, an enemy combatant. Semantics? Not really. When the WTC was bombed in '93 we tried seven men as criminals. But we let the group, al-Qieda, off the hook. As well as Afghanistan. How'd that work out? We are doing the same stuff all over again.
  19. PiettsHat Force Ghost

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    How is he any more of an enemy combatant than, say, the Aurora shooter? Or the shooter at Tucson (who targeted a US Congresswoman)?

    What I mean is, is there any evidence that he acted as part of a group or organization?
    Last edited by PiettsHat, Apr 22, 2013
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  20. Ghost Chosen One

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    Trying him as a criminal is not letting him off the hook. He's an American citizen. Committed crimes in America. Captured, alive, in America. His targets were not military targets.

    Should Timothy McVeigh have been tried as an enemy combatant?

    Which enemy is he allied with? Who was he "fighting" for? We're not sure yet. But how about Mafia members? If a criminal organization, based in another country, had committed the same attacks... would any American member of the Mafia then be considered enemy combatants?

    The only thing that makes Tsarniev different is (1) he was born somewhere else (but he is now an American citizen), and (2) he's Muslim (and even then, apparently a drinking, partying, pothead, not-that-religious Muslim... though his brother Tamerlan seemed a lot more conservative, Dzhokhar doesn't).

    Also, if they even are in a group, I really doubt we'll let them off the hook. Obama is the guy who sent Navy SEALS into the heart of Pakistan, remember? Russia has already pledged full cooperation, and most of Central Asia is already cooperative on counterterrorism matters.

    If Tsarnaev wasn't a Muslim, would you still think he should be tried as an enemy combatant?
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Apr 22, 2013
  21. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

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    If we'd tried the 1993 bombers in a tribunal then what would have changed?
  22. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    Because there is absolutely no legal justification for treating him as an enemy combatant. He is a civilian criminal performing a civilian crime -- just because it's a terrorist act does not make it an act of war.

    It's not a matter of right versus left. It's a matter of avoiding having the United States become a ****ing banana republic. I mean *** ****ing ****, the hell do all our soldiers fight for with people like you going around saying to forget due process and the rule of law?

    1 -- sorry, I was under the impression that this was a Senate thread and consequently arguments about the ICC and international law should have to do with, you know, the law and not just spouting personal opinions?
    2 -- Well, address that to the OP.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Apr 22, 2013
  23. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    Yes. It wasn't a crime committed by 7 men, just as we will find that this wasn't just a crime committed by 2 men. There is an organization involved. One that doesn't end with a guilty verdict. When you try people involved with terror instead of treating them as enemy combatants you loose opportunities to get information.
  24. J-Rod Force Ghost

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    I thought we couldn't use foul language even if it's censored? That aside, don't act like we kicked in an innocent's door and took poeople hostage. He is a terrorist. Treat him as such. And yes, it is a left vs right thing.
  25. GrandAdmiralJello Emperor: Community & Lit

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    Can't direct it at others (flaming), but can certainly use it to express frustration / emphasis. Or, as in this case, sublime annoyance.

    "He is a terrorist. Treat him as such." -- that is precisely what I said. He's a criminal, and you treat him as a criminal -- give him a trial, etc. You know -- actually follow the law instead of sullying ourselves in the process.

    What are you so afraid of? He's tried, there's apparently overwhelming evidence against him, and he's found guilty. What's the problem? Why do you feel the desire to convene an irregular court? Are you sure this isn't a desire for revenge kicking in?

    "And yes, it is a left vs right thing."

    So is it your contention, then, that the right-wing stands for arbitrary proceedings and the violation of law? That it stands for shooting from the hip and hanging any semblance of regularity? That it stands for the disgrace of this country and all for which it stands?

    Don't be absurd. You deploy the left-right labeling to discredit your opposition, or bring in baggage that's completely irrelevant. This isn't about economic policy. This isn't about social policy. It's an easy, intellectually dishonest and lazy strawman and you deployed it without the slightest hesitation.

    Let's forget the labels. I'll give you a chance to state your argument properly. Here are a few questions to help you get started.

    I. Why are you afraid of a trial in a civilian court?
    II. Your feelings aside, what legal justification do you have for treating him differently from any other criminal or bomber?
    III. What armed conflict is he a part of such that he is an enemy combatant?
    IV. What aspect of the ius in bello do you refer to that makes him an enemy combatant? Feel free to cite to any source from Grotius to published U.S. court cases.
    V. What organized and distinct non-state armed group is he in such that he has participated in a NIAC?
    VI. Since when was it a war crime to be an unlawful belligerent? (this was the Bush administration's position)


    edit: Ah, so you want information. So this is less about what's legal, but more about what's expeditious. Because you know that if we interrogate him in violation of the 5th Amendment, it'll be inadmissible in a civilian court -- which law enforcement may well do, if they plan not to try him. But you want him to be both interrogated as well as tried by a military court, huh?
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Apr 22, 2013
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