Senate Consequences of U.S. Torture

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

  1. Ghost Chosen One

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    No it isn't left versus right. And yes, he is a terrorist.
    We're not sure yet. But if there is an organization involved, do you really think we won't do everything we can to get them?

    How does trying him in court make us lose opportunities to get information?

    Please respond to my other post too.
  2. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    What is the point of even having laws if we just ignore them whenever we feel sufficient outrage?

    This isn't a right vs. left thing so much as a right vs. wrong thing.
    Last edited by Emperor_Billy_Bob, Apr 22, 2013
  3. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Or barbarity versus civilization.


    Told you I wasn't a left-winger.
  4. LandoThe CapeCalrissian Jedi Master

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    What do people consider torture...

    Maybe keeping a guy in a hole for weeks with little food and water might seem barbaric but I see no problem with handing down a beating to maybe get some answers..

    I figure it this way, if youre in some type of criminal organization and willing to commit large acts of crime a beating is something you should be expecting at some point in your career.
  5. Saintheart Chosen One

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    Leaving aside the principle of a civilised society not beating the hell out of people accused of committing -- not proven -- crimes, there's the practical aspect, i.e. the reliability of information produced under confession is apparently pretty low. It's not pragmatic, and it's not principled. It's just a chance for society to get its rocks off at the expense of another human being. You might expect a beating at some point in your criminal career, but the point is that you have chosen a lawless life.
  6. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Torture and Extra judicial killing is the norm of governments through out history.

    I don't particularly the thought of them but why would the United States be any different?

    Have any of you read the art of war? spying and turning enemy spy's with high rewards have been acknowledged as the best way to get intelligence since over 500bc. Yet torture has been used for fun and profit for thousands of years.
  7. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Slavery, genocide, public beheadings and crucifixion are similarly well documented practices of governments throughout history, so why should the US be any different?
  8. Mr44 VIP

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    There should be no way that Tsarniev should be tried as an enemy combatant, because he isn't one. He's a citizen who committed a category of crime which is covered under US law. The US legal system is quite capable of handing the charges relating to what he carried out. And in fact, if one wants to think of in such terms, he's going to get doubly screwed on the federal and state level, because it looks like the feds are going to charge him with the "mass destruction" aspect under federal law where the death penalty applies, and the state is going to try him for the murder of the police officer, where life in prison applies. The only way someone like Tsarniev might be detained as an enemy combatant is if he was still a Chechen national who came over to the US and carried out an attack specifically to degrade military capability or influence policy. Simply being PO'd at the US makes him a domestic terrorist, no different than someone like the already mentioned McVeigh, and domestic terrorism is already addressed under federal law.

    The problem is the perception of both sides. The right treats military tribunals as some sort of short-cut to justice, which they are not. While the left thinks of them as some harsh conspiracy, which they aren't either. Both perceptions seem to feed into each other. But the only thing different between military tribunals and civilian criminal courts are the scope of authority, and the fact that more aspects can be kept classified, because you're dealing with intelligence capabilities instead of witnesses in open court. You need both, but only if they fit within their own sphere of influence.

    I was watching one of the news round-table discussions, and someone actually asked if the Patriot Act allowed Tsarniev to be sent to Gitmo for safekeeping. I thought to myself that the audience was going to be in store for another Patriot Act misconception/rant, but much to my surprise, the legal authority guest actually explained that the Patriot Act has nothing to do with Gitmo, and US citizens can't be sent there anyway. It was refreshing, and I wish all news coverage was like that.
  9. DarthLowBudget Force Ghost

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    Well, there is the idea that maybe we can have ideals and progress as a society and better ourselves and the way we treat each other as human beings. Which is kind of one of the major principles of the philosophical movement upon which the United States was founded. In a society based on the rational rule of law, "because we've always done it that way" is not a sufficient justification.
  10. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Thank you, @Mr44 . That's exactly right.

    edit: Although I'll note that military courts aren't necessarily more secret than civilian courts: traditionally violations of the law of war by enemy soldiers have been conducted by courts martial, which are open to the public. Military commissions are not, nor are FSIA courts and there have been some proposals to try terrorists in national security courts or courts similar to FSIA courts b/c the latter is a regular article 3 tribunal whereas the former is an executive tribunal, which is primarily the main concern behind the efficacy of justice in a military commission (at least for the cognoscenti -- the view you ascribed to the right and left is probably true as of the general public).

    So was slavery -- but we got over that. Torture and extra-judicial killings are no longer acceptable -- they're violations of international law, and I mean that in the sense that "all nations have agreed that this is beyond the pale of civilized conduct." For the more skeptical Americans, the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution (literally by its terms -- deprivation of life without due process of law) as well as federal statutes prohibit, respectively, extra-judicial killings as well as torture.

    I don't know why you're advocating a gangster state, but the United States of America is not one and should not become one.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Apr 23, 2013
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  11. Mr44 VIP

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    Well, to be fair, we're not talking about regular procedures or courts martial among recognized militaries, we're talking about the concept of military tribunals which are used to process "unlawful combatants"-typically called saboteurs, spies, and whatnot depending on the linguistics of past conflicts. Basically, those enemies who act outside of the protections of agreed upon treaties of warfare. Regular enemy soldiers wouldn't be tried by such commissions.

    Historically, unlawful combatants would just be treated like bin Laden, ala with a SEAL Team Six style bullet in the head. Which, very few people in the free world, if any, cared about. (ie, look at the larger concept of how the anti-war movement views eh, conflict under right spectrum leaders vs under left spectrum leaders) Military Tribunals themselves aren't new, or outside of the norm. Hell, George Washington used a basic version of them at the foundation of the US to weed out spies vs regular British Redcoats. FDR used them during WWII against Nazi civilian fifth columnists. Every Western nation, from the UK, to France, to Australia and Germany have something like them. I'm not saying that they are automatically right, or wrong, or without controversy. However- The recent focus of the military tribunal process was one area where overall, I'd say the left-wing got it wrong. Because back when Bush was President there were people who screamed about concepts of habeas corpus for those picked up on the battlefield (there is none) and how the Geneva Conventions were supposed to be a catch-all (they aren't) ...And the entire concept of targeted killing without due process and such. (which never existed) The Military Commission Act of 2006 was established to address those complaints for the US. It was then modified by the 2009 Act, because after being sued, the SC ruled that detainees have the right of access to US federal courts, which is a bizarre ruling, but which didn't really matter anyway, because the tribunal process was just modified to get around it.

    This is why, even thought the year is 2013, Gitmo is still open. The US is still indefinitely detaining unlawful combatants, and the skies above certain countries bring a whole new meaning to the phrase "death from above," and it's all legal for the current President, or any for that matter, to carry out.
  12. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    IIRC, the complaints were more about the overall formlessness of the process of detaining these people, i.e. lack of oversight and accountability within the system as well as rumors of brutality. It wasn't a question of strict legalities as much as it was a more moralistic question of "Are we holding random innocent people for no reason?" All of this, of course, worsened by the Abu Graib scandal.

    And, again, none of this was helped by the widespread perception at home and abroad that the war was illegal to begin with.
    Last edited by Emperor_Billy_Bob, Apr 23, 2013
  13. Mr44 VIP

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    Well, that's why information becomes so important. There is no doubt that public perception smashedall of these examples into a single unrecognizable mass. But what is ironic is that Abu Ghraib was an official military prison. It was the result of an extreme breakdown in leadership within the Army Reserve units stationed there. Remember, just about a dozen soldiers were court martialed, dishonorablebly discharged, and confined for up to 10 years because they violated policy. As they should have been. It had nothing to do with the status of any enemy forces. It would have been no different had state prison guards in CA abused prisoners in San Quentin, and some sort of connection be made that it's how every felony prisoner in US prisons are treated. But yeah, because of what happened, many in the public thought it was the standard no matter the area.
  14. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    Which was obviously a shortcoming of the administration...
  15. Likewater Force Ghost

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    While for some ending slavery was a Moral decision, slavery ended because slaves didn't buy stuff, not getting payed and all, I don't wish to dis respect the abolitionists who fought valiantly to end it. the end of slavery was economicly viable and preferable. Slavery would exist to this day (And in many regions of the world still exists) because it is still a viable way of doing business.

    The British wanted a slice of the African consumer market, slavery was detrimental to that market. As slaves bought nothing and masters did not spend all that much on slaves. The masses spend magnitudes more than the people on the top.

    Many like to paint society with a moral...slant sociaty has proven time and time again it is amoral. When faced with the choice of morality and practicality groups of people choose practicality every time, (Otherwise the united states would have never had held slavery to begin with). While there is plenty of moral reasoning, the cost of torturing does not outweigh the practice of engaging in it. same with extra legal killing.

    Only when the cost of engaging in these actions become too steep for society and or the government will it end.
    Last edited by Likewater, Apr 23, 2013
  16. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    Yeah, hit the nail on the head there.

    Just the other day I was reading an article in the National Review claiming that William F. Buckley's opposition to civil rights had been a (not exact wording) "grave moral error". There just aren't enough facepalms in the observable universe.
  17. Mr44 VIP

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    Although you don't mention the specific article, are you talking about this exchange?

    If conservatives today really mean to mark out an American conservative ethos with no remaining ties to racism, wouldn’t they need to reckon, far more seriously and realistically than they seem prepared to do, with the painful legacy of the postwar right when it comes to what was then called racial integration? With the Cold War, integration was the hot issue of the day, precisely at the time when the right wing was in the process of taking over the Republican Party. (Nelson Rockefeller, for example, was a fire-and-brimstone Cold Warrior but hyperliberal on race; he was the type the Buckleyites were trying to knock out.)
    -Do you have any major regrets along the way about positions that you espoused or people you championed?
    MR. BUCKLEY: I think we made a mistake in 1962 in opposing the Civil Rights Act. There were two or three acts that—The one that was opposed by Goldwater, who in the matter, by the way, was constitutionally advised by a man who 10 years later was Chief Justice of the United States... (William Rehnquist.) ..on the Civil Rights bill. And we were persuaded that was correct. I regret it. I think that the impact of that bill should have been welcomed by us. And that sort of transcended what would have become a constitutional formalism. I’m also sad that there wasn’t as much of an evolution in libertarian policies as I’d have liked to have seen. It’s simply accepted by everyone, including workaday conservatives, that education and health are substantially statist enterprises. I regret this. I think it was a surrender in principle and an abandonment of ideas that might have profited the republic hugely.

    Because even in that article, you get an entire spectrum within one party. You have Rockfeller, who was very hard core military power, but yet just as hard core for civil rights, to Goldwater and Buckley, who had to reconcile the idea of state's rights with what were unjust policies.

    Is that what you meant, or does your facepalm cover everything you want to say?
  18. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    That is not the article I was talking about, although it is interesting. It was a hostile review of a book which claimed that the modern Republican party was strongly informed by the ideology of John C. Calhoun.

    It should be obvious why it is silly for the right to disavow racism now that it is politically convenient to do so. The obvious question is "If you were so wrong then, why should we trust you on modern social issues?" But that question never seems to haunt the Republicans in the dark of night.

    I would bet every cent I will ever earn that within 50 years Republicans will be calling their current opposition to gay rights a "grave moral error."
  19. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Right, but those were pursuant to the exigencies of an on-going war and a battlefield scenario. U.S. courts have noted there are constitutional problems with this outside of the battlefield setting (forget the prominent case cite -- was immediately post Civil War). Given that the war on terror has no certain battlefield outside of the Af.-Pak. setting, it's a lot trickier. I don't know that there's a definitive answer either way on it. There's no question there are constitutional concerns, it's just a matter of whether or not they can be overcome.



    4th Geneva Convention & APII. If these individuals are not armed and they are not part of an organized armed band, they cannot be killed. Civilians who take up arms can only be targeted while directly participating.


    Battlefield setting for the former. Latter (ex Parte Quirin, I take it?) is severely questionable -- FDR basically told the Supreme Court he'd except no other ruling.

    I don't know how you can say that there is none when we have a firmly divided court on that, though. The way it came out is that there's a territorial limitation to the right, but that said right DOES apply to Gitmo where it wouldn't apply on the battlefield (for policy reasons, as well as the fact that the federal courts lack jurisdiction over it). Moreover, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions does apply at the very least, and the U.S. has recognized portions of AP2 as binding law. The issue is that the Bush administration wanted things both ways -- the conflict wasn't non-international for the purposes of Geneva, but it was for the purposes of targeted killings. Gotta pick one.

    But that's fine -- the court only said that due process would be satisfied so long as requirements similar to regularly constituted tribunals with the right of appeal to an art. 3 court were met.

    ehhhhh it's more complicated than that, but that's all I'll say.


    That's not only wrong, but disturbing. No state on earth validly asserts its right to torture; those that engage in it do not admit that they do. What does that tell you?

    Meh -- I hate that Rockefeller stands for that wing of the party. He was never that important a figure, and barely won any primaries in 1964 -- Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was a much more prominent figure and was far more successful in those primaries than Rockefeller ever was. He was also a true representative of the old Northeastern wing of the party -- Rockefeller was a glory hound.
  20. Likewater Force Ghost

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    Yet it is still done, is it not?

    Even though since antiquity it has been known that is is an unreliable way of gaining information. What does that tell you?

    It is habitual behavior, and while yes it is kept hush hush, has not ended. Otherwise we would not be having this discussion.
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    People still rob banks and kill each other too, what's your point? I didn't accuse you of a gangster-state mentality just for rhetorical flourish.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Apr 23, 2013
  22. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    Metaethical arguments are about as fun as getting teeth pulled. GAJ is wrong, but I have no real desire to put up with more of his "Oh my stars!" moralism. Just let it die.
  23. Mr44 VIP

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    Which again, is no different than any other controversial, but complicated issue.

    I can point to recent interviews by Jane Fonda where she deeply and morally regrets how she lost track of the legitimate anti-Vietnam war protest 50 years ago. Is it your assertion that Jane Fonda represented the entire anti-war movement in a kind of binary, either/or fashion?

    I can point to statements made by former members of anti-establishment groups like the Weather Underground, who now have positions in political administrations, where they deeply regret using mass bombing and violent actions in order to deliver their message back then, in crimes that would be considered to be true domestic terrorism today. Does Mark Rudd's violent actions decades ago and his following regret represent all individuals who participated in anti-government protests?

    Looking forward 50 years, Democrats will be calling their current total cow-towing to big labor unions and the corruption that follows a grave moral error. In 50 years, Democrats will utterly regret how in order to pander to votes, the party completely corrupted the noble goal of affirmative action, and created generations of what amounts to second class citizens. In 50 years, Democrats will realize they made a grave moral error by becoming completely paralyzed by their dependence on political correctness, to the point where it destroyed and idea of individuality and achievement. In 50 years, when all such programs are broke and top heavy, democrats will be calling their insistence to rush through Obamacare without a true plan, their gravest moral failing since the country was founded.

    Maybe. maybe not. But aren't all these issues more detailed, and more nuanced, than simply blaming a single political party for them? I guess not.
    Last edited by Mr44, Apr 23, 2013
  24. Likewater Force Ghost

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    That prove my point, people engage in criminal activities because they have or believe they can get away with it, like governments.

    You are proving my point, only when the cost of doing the action becomes so painful or damaging that continuation is self destruction, the action will stop.
  25. Emperor_Billy_Bob Chosen One

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    The problem is that Civil Rights and Gay rights are only "complicated" or "controversial" if you accept, in spirit, conservative critiques, past and present.

    Deeply flawed analogy. History has more or less settled in sympathy with the CAUSE Jane Fonda and the Weather Underground stood for. Their methods were simply not acceptable in polite society.

    Ultimately, I am not interested in moral posturing re: the racism of Republicans. I am, however, interested in not being a simpleton who accepts that Republicans aren't racist anymore, despite their heavily white and southern voting base, just because they know it is politically unproductive for them to be so.

    Very unlikely. Why would they disavow some of their key constituents?

    If current population trends continue, this is about as likely as me flying to the moon under my own power.

    My bet would be the exact opposite. What is now called "political correctness" will be deemed common sense normality.

    All you are doing is pointing to ideological issues that you disagree (I assume) with the Democrats on, which is different than what I am doing.

    It would suit the argument better if, for example, Obamacare had been passed 50 years ago, and proven a failure, and then modern day Democrats were trying something very similiar again, after having admitted that Obamacare was a "grave moral failure". That is a better analogy then just pointing to issues you have with liberal politics.
    Last edited by Emperor_Billy_Bob, Apr 23, 2013