War Crimes and the Bush administration

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by KnightWriter, Dec 13, 2008.

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  1. saturn5 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2009
    star 4
    To save lives? People get over torture, they don't get over being maimed or killed in terrorist attacks
  2. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Uh, no they don't. You can't assure they will psychologically.

    And while you suggest that we use fear of pain to accomplish our goals, why not revoke people's inalienable rights by taking away their freedom? That would allow for so much more to be done if you don't have to worry about what people think. F. consent! Experiment on people to bring about new treatments faster.
  3. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    And yet, if you apply that same standard to other things, then how do you know that someone will psychologically get over being falsely imprisoned? Or even merely falsely accused of a crime?

    You are applying inconsistent standards here.

    Kimball Kinnison
  4. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    They actually have a very consistent standard: Get Bush.

    Everything else is really secondary to that standard.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I think the consistent standard would be enlightened values. You know, that whole deal with having progressed from medieval barbarism.

    But I suppose you think the Declaration of Human Rights is just a socialist pamphlet huh.
  6. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Where is the enlightenment in NOT getting information from a terrorist planner that could save innocent lives? A plane flying into Library Tower strikes me as far more barbaric than three waterboarded terrorists.

    Or do you, like Van Jones and Jeremiah Wright, think America had 9/11 coming?
  7. ShrunkenJedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2003
    star 5
    Let me try a different argument if I may: Intent as well as (even more important) likely perceived intent. Is mere imprisonment or accusation of a crime either intended or likely to be perceived as an actual attempt on one's life, health, or fundamental values, etc - things which could easily be psychologically damaging, things which form a person's sense of self and ego? I don't think so.

    On the other hand, various torture techniques are designed to be perceived as such -- for example, waterboarding is simulated drowning, the very nature of it conditional on it being taken as an attempt on one's life. The very basis of ego and sense of self, naturally traumatic. Very, very different.
  8. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Simple. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Show that you're more civilized than a barbarian. Stick to the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Human Rights. Don't just flaunt them, act them out.
    I think they're both pretty disgusting, but it doesn't matter: nobody flew a plane into that tower. And it's a bad comparison, because if someone had, it wouldn't have been any of us. Because we're (supposed to be) more civilized than that. Do you really not see that? Don't you see that taking your position brings you closer to your enemy on a moral level?

    "Had it coming" implies the perception of guilt, and assigning blame for events before 9/11 is not what this thread is about.


  9. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    JS: the point of being 'enlightened' is not that you can't get information from terrorists, but that you're civilized enough to devise better and more efficient ways of obtaining information. It's about showing you're better than your enemies. That you do not throw away your ideals at the drop of a hat. Or in this case, the drop of a building.

    As for the US 'had it coming', maybe. Only a fool would say that our foreign policy hasn't made some people angry. So, no, we didn't 'have it coming' but we've created an atmosphere around the world where it made things possible for people to hate the US enough to attack us.
  10. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    PPOR
  11. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    All the pro-torture arguments here are built around the false premise that torture is the only way to extract information. "So you don't want to torture them? So you don't want to find out what they know? So you want Americans to die?" And so on.

    As just about any interrogator will tell you, torture is one of the least effective ways to extract information. It makes people talk, but it doesn't make them tell the truth. They just say whatever they think will make the torture stop.

    By contrast, look here, and see how they interrogated German officers in WWII, gleaning information just by playing chess or ping-pong, building rapports with the prisoners. And it worked; they learned volumes about German tactics and technology.

    So enough of this Jack Bauer fantasy crap. We can keep America safe without sullying her honor.
  12. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    You know, Geist, I tried making that argument before but BandofClones and JediSmuggler were saying to the affect of, "LALALALALALALALA I can't hear you!" So I dunnae think it'll work this time, but good luck.
  13. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    One more for now. This one comes from a U.S. Major who operates under the codename "Matthew Alexander."

    Maybe you think he's a dreamer, some over-educated pansy whose ideas would never work on a hardened Jihadi. Maybe you think he's all talk. Maybe you don't know that he's the one who found Zarqawi.

    And he says one more thing: Our use of torture recruited so many enemy fighters that it likely caused more U.S. deaths than 9/11.
  14. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    Where is the enlightenment in NOT getting information from a terrorist planner that could save innocent lives? A plane flying into Library Tower strikes me as far more barbaric than three waterboarded terrorists.

    Or do you, like Van Jones and Jeremiah Wright, think America had 9/11 coming?[/quote]

    That is no excuse! You make an absolute statement that torture is the only way to defeat terrorism and that all those who are going to ever be tortured are terrorists. In a perfect world where that happens, then maybe. There has to be an inflexible line drawn somewhere and there can be no excuse for crossing it; otherwise it's meaningless.
  15. Darth Geist Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 1999
    star 5
    Here's an interesting story.

    When it comes to torture, regimes don't get much more brutal than the Third Reich. Everyone knows the horror stories from the Gestapo and the SS, and the unspeakable atrocities their prisoners had to suffer through.

    But their most effective interrogator ? in fact, he was known as "the Master Interrogator" ? never even raised his voice to a prisoner, let alone lay hands on one. His name was Hanns-Joachim Scharff, and he was known for gleaning volumes of information from POWs by treating them with, of all things, decency and respect.

    Essentially, his MO was to act as the prisoner's friend and advocate, freely offering them such luxuries as swimming pool exercise, walks outside, and ? in one case ? letting a prisoner take a plane up for a spin (airmen were his specialty). He'd swap jokes and stories with them, all the while cunningly bringing down their guard until he could read them like a book.

    He was fluent in English, and knowledgeable about British and American customs. Armed with that knowledge, he offered the prisoners someone they could relate to ? and confide in.

    He was so effective, and his treatment so humane, that after the war, long after many of his colleagues had hanged at Nuremburg, the U.S. Air Force invited him to teach his techniques, many of which are still on their books to this day.

    So there you have it. Even the Nazis (or at least some Nazis) knew that there were better methods than torture.

    Even if you don't personally care what torture does to our reputation, or our honor, the fact remains that it's unreliable.

    But torture isn't about reliability. It's not even really about the information at all; that's just a bonus.

    It's about revenge.

    We all wish we could punish the hijackers. We all wish we'd been on those planes, that we'd had the chance to do something, anything. We could have stood up, rallied the other passengers, taken those bastards down ? hell, there were only three of them to a plane, and some people have fingernails longer than those blades. We could have thrown hot water in their faces, bludgeoned them with luggage. We could have just rushed them, all of us together, like they did on Flight 93, but sooner, so we might have survived. They couldn't have stopped us. Not if we'd been there. Not if we'd had a chance.

    But we didn't. We were all completely powerless to do anything but watch it unfold. We all remember where we were. I was here on this site, doing a little pre-work websurfing, and I saw that thread on the Community forum. Maybe you saw it too; "Plane crashes into World Trade Center." I thought they meant a Cessna plane at first.

    My father lost his business. His big break, his multi-million-dollar contract, literally went up in smoke. Took him years to recover.

    Believe me, Smuggler, or anyone else who agrees with you: If I had my hands around a hijacker's throat, they'd be squeezing just as hard as yours.

    Here's the thing: The hijackers are dead. You and I can't punish them. If there's a Hell, that's what it's for. But nothing we can do about it.

    I think that some people, whether on the surface or underneath, believe that torturing someone else, someone like the hijackers (or at least someone we suspect of being like them), is as close as we can get to punishing the hijackers themselves. It's so easy to want that. You couldn't give them what they deserved, but someone else out there wants to do the same thing they did, and the guy you have in custody right now just might be that someone else. No one's watching, or if they are, they don't care; he's all yours. And even if he's not the right guy, he probably knows where at least one of the right guys is ? and even if he doesn't, this isn't the sort of thing you take chances on. Too many lives at stake. Even if he's totally innocent, and they brought in the wrong guy, well, (A) what are the chances of that? and (B) it's war; innocents get caught in the crossfire all the time.
  16. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Darth Geist

    According to Steve Hayes, who has done some very good investigative journalism on the war on terror (including Saddam's connections with terrorist gorups - inlcuding al-Qaeda), the CIA report is pretty clear:
    Prior to the use of the enhanced techniques (they were NOT torture), the bad guys did NOT cooperate. When the techniques were used, they cooperated.

    Those are the facts.

    Furthermore, if you cannot acknowledge that those with the Bush Administration were acting in good faith to protect this country, then further discussion is not much use to anyone. Because quite frankly, I see no reason to grant anything to Obama's people that you and others on this issue will not grant to Bush's.
  17. farraday Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    So, if I accuse the Bush administration of acting in bad faith, you accuse the Obama administration of acting in bad faith in investigating. However, if I accept the Bush administration acted in good faith, then you accuse the Obama Administration of investigating in bed faith because clearly the Bush Administration acted in good faith.

    I'm not sure you've quite go that down as a workable argument yet. Or did you not think that all the way through before typing it out? Unless you're okay with a good faith investigation of the Bush administration's policies? After all, since they're innocent what do they have to be afraid of?
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Smuggler,

    Waterboarding is not the only thing Bush did wrong. My main issue is the invasion of Iraq, and the extortion involved in getting other countries to go along.

    Also, I don't see how to commit torture would remotely be the same thing as 'protecting America'. I think committing torture is showing your disrespect for human rights, and as such, it would make you more vulnerable to attacks, not less so.
  19. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7

    As ever, JS, that article is complete crap from the Weekly Standard. Not only that, but you honestly expect someone to take an article seriously with the header, "Why Can't the Left Be Honest About the IG Report?"
  20. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    So what you're saying is, some guy who did "very good investigative journalism" into a discredited, laughable implausibility, is now to be trusted with "debunking" the fact that torture is ineffective at obtaining reliable information, despite a preponderance of evidence? Well, I look forward to his report on Kim Jong Il's secret ties to the Pope.
  21. JediSmuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 5, 1999
    star 5
    Hence why I think I will be spending a lot less time here.
  22. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Because you post biased sources and people call you out on them? I mean, it's one thing to say, "I realize this is a biased piece/site/both a biased piece and site, but," yet you hold them up as if they're the gospel of reality. Well, hokay.
  23. Darth_Yuthura Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2007
    star 4
    So I thought about reviving a dead thread...

    I've recently read the search for al qaeda: its leadership ideology and future by Bruce Riedel. He made an interesting case for al Qaeda which shows how they wanted the US to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. The reason for 9/11 was to have the US engage in a foreign war where it would bleed itself of critical resources until they had no choice but to pull out.

    Riedel made the case that the terrorists actually did operate out of Iraq, but the cell operated completely autonomous of the Iraq government. Its only purpose was to get the US to engage its military in a pointless war with Iraq, but it was not al Qaeda who made the Iraq war so.

    It was solely by the acts of the Bush administration that the US has done EXACTLY what al Qaeda wanted from the beginning. And it is for that reason George W Bush and his cronies should be brought up on war crimes. They committed treasonous acts upon the US, worse than al Qaeda. Why are so many demanding Bin Laden's head, yet ignoring the true mastermind who made 9/11 everything it was for the terrorists?
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