Mitt Romney Supports Torture

February 4, 2007 at 8:28 pm | Posted in American politics, Mit Romney, Mitt Romney, Torture | 58 Comments

In his own words:

McCain believes the president’s interrogation of terrorist detainees was a violation of the Geneva Accords.

“I disagree with him,” Romney said.

I feel more sorry about the voters he has to pander to in order to lower his religious standards like this. Or maybe he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing regarding his religious beliefs…..not only is he reprehensible, but so are the Americans who agree with him and will vote for him. Evil men!

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  1. Romney is a schmuck war-monger. My dislike of him increased a while back when he refused to provide security for Khatami of Iran (who visited and spoke at Harvard) and called him a terrorist.

    Here are his own assinine words:

    “There are people in this state who have suffered from terrorism, and taking even a dollar of their money to support a terrorist is unacceptable…”

    He said that Khatamis visit would be, “a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists”

    “The shock of the commemoration of a great tragedy coinciding with the visit of a terrorist to our state was too great to go unnoticed,” Romney said. “For that reason, I have directed state resources not to be used to ease or encourage his visit.”

    “There are some people who we can all imagine who by virtue of their acts would not be welcome at a campus, and this is one of them…”

  2. The Lord says in the Doctrine and Covenants to “be one, and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.” Can I be “one” with someone who supports torture?

    What the hell is wrong with conservative Mormons these days?

  3. Moro. 9: 10
    10 And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of bravery.

    It’s scriptural, see, so how can we possibly be against it?

    (Makes me wonder just how much of the “token of bravery” thing plays into the thinking of those who think torture is sometimes a good ides…)

  4. Mark,

    I think the problem lies in that they, proponents of torture, honestly believe in their hearts that 1.) it works, and 2.) it isn’t that harmful, and 3.) it’s not evil enough to taint the mission, the nation, and their own conscience. They justify it with Nephi’s beheading of Laban and with the Israelite slaughter of Canaan. They justify it with the scalping of Zemnariah by Captain Moroni’s guard. But most importantly, they justify it because they see it on television: Jack Bauer tortures the bad guy, gets the intel, and the bad guy ends up being alright from the torture, gets arrested or shot, and life goes on.

    Oh will they be in for a shock when the taxman cometh to collect.

  5. First of all, whether something is a “violation of the Geneva Accords” is a legal determination. Romney is qualified to make legal determinations—he is no idiot, he graduated Valedictorian for BYU and did quite well at Harvard Law School (and Harvard Business School—joint degree). He did not articulate his position on whether he would do the same thing as President Bush; rather, he simply said it is not a violation—which is right—technically. How can you fault him for being right?

    Second, you would not be “one” with him anyway—your social and fiscal policies are aligned elsewhere. So stop being disingenuous!

    Last, as for the token of bravery thing, that was simply out of line. When people stoop to such low levels for the purpose of hurting another human beings reputation—it is both a sin as well as a simple reflection of your own character.

    If you can attack his viewpoint from a position of credibility—then do it. Perhaps we could have a great discussion about the Iraq war policy—if you are up to the challenge!

  6. Eric,

    Technically speaking you are correct, Romney can make a legal distinction if he desires, though his belief is flawed. You are right that he did not articulate if he would do the same thing if he were president, but for the crowd to whom he was speaking, that was the intended effect, that policy would not change, that terrorists would still be tortured….er…given “alternative set of procedures” because in his eyes, they don’t violate the Geneva Conventions. In other words, he’s letting that audience know that, unlike McCain, he won’t overturn that policy by the Bush administration. Therefore, since those really are torture policies, Romney supports torture.

    Secondly, the “one with him” issue is about religion, not politics.

    About your last point, Eric, I’ve been writing this blog since last April. I’ve written about torture on numerous occasions, pretty effectively countering all arguments for the use of Bush’s policies on suspected terrorists. I guess I can go at it again.

  7. So, link me to what I should know concerning Romney and Torture. What exactly are we talking about: rubber hoses, bamboo in the fingernails, etc.? Just what kind of “physical pressure” are we talking about? Please point me in the right direction.

    Thanks,

    Eric

  8. Is torture just physical? While torture for the most part affects the physical body, its main purpose and design is to break down the mind, dehumanize the individual, destroy any semblance of the person’s former life, former life meaning the life he used to have before being tortured.

    Mitt Romney has on several occasions thrown his full support behind Bush’s policies regarding the (mis)treatment of detainees. Bush and his supporters obviously do not want to call it torture as the word “torture” has a very negative connotation. Alas, if it quacks like a duck it isn’t a cat.

    That’s as far as Romney goes. When he had a chance to stand up for what was right, he failed and instead pandered to the right-wing. He’d rather not get more into it, obviously.

  9. What the hell is wrong with conservative Mormons these days?

    Everything obviously.

  10. Ok, I admit I can be a little slow sometimes. Link me to what I should know concerning Romney and “(mis)treatment” of people (I take it that we are talking about people here and that the word “people” and “(mis)treatment” is allincompasing enough to enable you to point me in the right direction).

    Also, am I to take it from your response that we are talking about mental rather than physical mistreatment? Please point me in the right direction. Please don’t pretend that I already know something about this; I really am clueless. Please, where are the links to the cold hard facts that implicate Mr. Romney?
    Thanks,
    Eric

  11. You want links eh? Here’s a few for you.

    Romney disagrees with US Supreme Court Decision on the treatment of detainees:

    Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts said Thursday that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Guantanamo Bay detainees was just another reason why the nation should elect a Republican president again in 2008 — to get more conservative judges on the high court.

    The Supreme Court ruled that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying in a strong rebuke that the trials were illegal under U.S. and international law.

    The court declared 5-3 that the trials for 10 foreign terror suspects violate U.S. law and the Geneva conventions.

    “To apply the Geneva accords is very strange in my view,” Romney said during a question-and-answer session with about 150 people attending his speech sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation at The Commerce Club of Atlanta.

    Romney said he hadn’t seen the ruling and didn’t want to be too specific, but he said he knew the votes broke down between liberal and conservative judges.

    “It’s hard to understand how a party who’s not a nation comes under the Geneva convention,” he said.

    Romney: “I’m a Conservative Republican”

    In an interview with The Examiner, Romney described himself as more conservative than Republican rivals McCain, R-Ariz., and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on a variety of issues. “We’re in a different place on immigration; we’re in a different place on campaign reform; we’re in a different place on same–sex marriage; we’re in a different place on the president’s policy on interrogation of detainees,” Romney said.

    “I’m a conservative Republican, there’s no question about that,” he said. “I’m at a different place than the other two.”

    Romney: “We’re facing four challenges as a nation”

    With regards to interrogation of detainees, the president was right, and the senator (McCain) was wrong on that one.

    More on Jihadi Rights

    During the weekend, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, a potential rival of McCain’s for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, said he disagreed with McCain’s stance and supported President Bush’s position. Asked about Romney, McCain said: ”I respect his views.”

    Mitt Romney agrees with President Bush on the way to interrogate detainees, including the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and all the other stuff borrowed from our good friends the Soviets and fascist Japanese of WWII.

    If Mitt Romney agrees with President Bush’s detainee interrogation policies now, it means he wishes to continue the use of torture. He is therefore an evil man. Anyone, and I really do mean anyone, who advocates and supports the use of torture on ANY individual is evil.

    Where do we draw a line between good and evil, Eric? At what point of sacrificing our values are we no longer good people? How low must we lower our standards before we lost what we were even fighting for?

    Torture is evil, and so is anyone who backs it. That includes Mr. Romney.

  12. Ok, I see that Mr. Romney disagrees with McCain on the interrogation issue, and he sides with the conservative minority on the Supreme Court (regarding legal technicalities—which, by the way, I agree with the majority but for different reasoning). But none of these articles really got to the point of the real issue: Exactly what interrogation techniques are they promoting that you find so reprehensible?

    You said that “Mitt Romney agrees with President Bush on the way to interrogate detainees, including the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and all the other stuff borrowed from our good friends the Soviets and fascist Japanese of WWII.”

    Like I said, I don’t know what any of this stuff includes (although you seemed to have implied earlier that it did not include rubber hoses and bamboo under the finger nails—which would indicate an inconsistency because you just said that both Bush and Mitt agree on using “all the other stuff borrowed from our good friends the Soviets and fascist Japanese of WWII.” I happen to read history and the Japanese used some very severe tactics including bamboo, beatings, drowning, electrocution, castration, removing of limbs, removing of eyes, hanging upside down, and starvation. The soviets would do pretty much the same thing, but they did it to their own people—they would also sometimes kill innocent members of the victim’s family in front of them if they did not add to the information that the interrogator already had). Please stop with the “generalized implications.”

    So what is “waterboarding” and where is the statement you can point me to that specifically endorses or authorizes it. People that speak in generalities are most often not credible. So can you point to specific instances that were authorized and tie the authorization to either Bush or Mitt? Or can you find a statement by either of them that specifically endorses the sin you are attributing to them?

    Since you have already effectively established that Mitt seems to agree with Bush on interrogation tactics, I would be plenty impressed if you could find this specific information for Bush. We will then convict Mitt by association (that is your goal—and I have no problem with adopting it if you can provide Bush’s specific authorization or support for inappropriate interrogation tactics).

    I earnestly await your response.

    Eric

  13. I just finished another search on this torture issue, and perhaps I’m an incompetent searcher. All I can find is statements saying that Bush does not endorse torture. Perhaps you have better search tactics than I. (Or maybe you are guilty of rendering a harsh judgment against this man. Remember, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7:2).

  14. I did find this.

    June 26, 2003

    Statement by the President
    United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

    Today, on the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.

    Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.

    Notorious human rights abusers, including, among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe, have long sought to shield their abuses from the eyes of the world by staging elaborate deceptions and denying access to international human rights monitors. Until recently, Saddam Hussein used similar means to hide the crimes of his regime. With Iraq’s liberation, the world is only now learning the enormity of the dictator’s three decades of victimization of the Iraqi people. Across the country, evidence of Baathist atrocities is mounting, including scores of mass graves containing the remains of thousands of men, women, and children and torture chambers hidden inside palaces and ministries. The most compelling evidence of all lies in the stories told by torture survivors, who are recounting a vast array of sadistic acts perpetrated against the innocent. Their testimony reminds us of their great courage in outlasting one of history’s most brutal regimes, and it reminds us that similar cruelties are taking place behind the closed doors of other prison states.

    The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment. I call on all nations to speak out against torture in all its forms and to make ending torture an essential part of their diplomacy. I further urge governments to join America and others in supporting torture victims’ treatment centers, contributing to the UN Fund for the Victims of Torture, and supporting the efforts of non-governmental organizations to end torture and assist its victims.

    No people, no matter where they reside, should have to live in fear of their own government. Nowhere should the midnight knock foreshadow a nightmare of state-commissioned crime. The suffering of torture victims must end, and the United States calls on all governments to assume this great mission.

    # # #

  15. Statement by the President…

    Watch what they do, not what they say. Let’s see how long it takes for the Bush administration to admit that sending a certain Canadian citizen to Syria for interrogation torture just might have been just a teensy bit out of line.

  16. Whenever I hear anyone arguing of torture, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

    Abraham Lincoln.

    (The word slavery was replaced with the word torture)

  17. Eric,

    Exactly what interrogation techniques are they promoting that you find so reprehensible?

    Sleep deprivation, waterboarding, the dehumanization of the individual (as best shown by the way Jose Padilla was (mis)treated), etc. These techniques are all reprehensible, Eric. And yes, all these are covered by the Geneva Conventions. The wonderful thing about the Geneva Conventions is that they are vague enough so that they play on common sense. It’s like pornography, you know it when you see it. You don’t need it spelled out to you. What the Bush administration (and by support Romney) wish to do is to “clarify” that vague language, so that they can justify some actions normally only advocated by nations whose morality we would otherwise question. Of course, you’ll never hear Bush say he supports torture, because the word itself is very negative. He calls them “alternative set of procedures,” a very lawyerly phrase meant to barely describe what these “procedures” are without really telling you everything. The irony is that while the Bush administration wishes to “clarify” the Geneva Conventions, they are loathe to say just what they wish to be covered in the newly clarified GC, because they wish to be the final arbiters as to what is acceptable or not, not some law. In other words, they wish to be above the law.

    Now, I’ve written several times here on my blog about the subject. I will link you to the previous posts. Please read them. They are informative and should show very strongly that any such “alternative set of procedures” are not only wrong, but evil, and not becoming a righteous nation.

    Sleep Deprivation is Torture

    The Wrongness of Torture

    Commentary on the Torture Compromise. In this one I quote from Vladimir Bukovsky, a famous Russian dissident who was tortured while held prisoner in the Soviet Union. Read his account.

    Bush’s Alternative Set of Procedures in the Words of Soviet Prisoners. This one is especially useful. Read the following from this link:

    He quoted a Czech prisoner, Evzen Loebl, who described “having to be on his feet eighteen hours a day, sixteen of which were devoted to interrogation. During the six-hour sleep period, the warder pounded on the door every ten minutes. . . . If the banging did not wake him, a kick from the warder would. After two or three weeks, his feet were swollen and every inch of his body ached at the slightest touch; even washing became a torture.“
    …….
    “Cold, hunger, the bright light and especially sleeplessness. The cold is not terrific. But when the victim is weakened by hunger and sleeplessness, then the six or seven degrees above the freezing point make him tremble all the time. . . . After fifty or sixty interrogations with cold and hunger and almost no sleep, a man becomes like an automaton — his eyes are bright, his legs swollen, his hands trembling. In this state, he is often convinced he is guilty.”

    There Is No Value to Torture

    The Unreliability of Information Garnered From Torture:

    The self-described civil libertarian, Alan Dershowitz, published a book in 2002 entitled, Why Terrorism Works: Understanding the Threat, Responding to the Challenge. In Chapter Four, he calls for the use of “nonlethal” torture in “ticking bomb” situations. Unfortunately, he neither tells us how we can be sure that an event is imminent nor how we can be sure that the torture applied will not have a fatal result. On the surface, his recommendation of pushing needles under someone’s fingernails appears to be a nonfatal technique. But, can we be sure of that in the case of an older source with a heart problem? As evidence that torture works, Dershowitz describes an event that took place in the Philippines in 1995. It seems the police captured one Abdul Hakim Murad after finding a bomb-making factory in his apartment in Manila. They beat him and broke his ribs, burned him with cigarettes, forced water down his throat, then threatened to turn him over to the Israelis. Sixty-seven days later he broke and told of terror plots to blow up 11 airliners, crash another into the headquarters of the CIA and to assassinate the Pope. Unsaid here is which of these purported plots were subsequently confirmed. Also, I find it curious that Dershowitz would argue for the use of torture in a “ticking bomb” situation based on a torture-interrogation example that took sixty-seven days to bring to fruition. According to WO Brian Copeland of the Navy/Marine Intelligence Training Course (NMITC), Dam Neck, Va., current Marine Corps interrogation doctrine is that detainee information is highly perishable and, in a tactical environment, has a shelf life of 24 to 48 hours.

    WHy Are Americans So Eager To Torture People?:

    The Bush administration has tried another approach to end-run critics: farming out torture. For years, American intelligence handed over prisoners to be interrogated by other security services less squeamish about squeezing information out of suspects. These so-called renditions picked up after 9/11. The very first high-ranking Al Qaeda operative captured—Abu Faraj al-Libbi-was first interrogated by the FBI. But when the FBI wanted to use its normal, go-slow methods, the prisoner was turned over to the CIA—who promptly turned him over to the Egyptians. (NEWSWEEK has reported that as al-Libbi was led to a plane routed for Egypt, a CIA operative whispered in his ear that he planned to “f— your mother”.) Under the no-doubt rough care of the Egyptians, al-Libbi talked of plots and agents. The information was used to make the case for war against Iraq. As recounted in “Hubris,” a new book by NEWSWEEK’s Michael Isikoff and David Corn, there was only one problem: al-Libbi later recanted, saying that he had lied to stop the torture.

    Eric, there is far too much evidence that 1) torture is ineffective, 2) torture has highly negative effects on the individual who is tortured, 3) the use of torture seriously erodes the standing of the nation that employs the tactic, 4) Bush has employed these techniques on others and also renditioned suspects to countries like Syria and Egypt that use the more evil forms, and 5) Romney supports these actions. He has not spoken out against them, and he says he agrees with them. By simple logic, this means that Romney supports torture. Therefore Romney is not a good man, but an evil man. Anyone who supports the use of torture is evil. You cannot be good and advocate evil policies.

  18. “By simple logic, this means that Romney supports torture. Therefore Romney is not a good man, but an evil man. Anyone who supports the use of torture is evil. You cannot be good and advocate evil policies.”

    You lost me right there. But then I don’t see things in simple black and white terms, and I have always had a hard time understanding those that do, but I try to understand.

    So, Dan. Are you going to support Sen. Obama, Sen. Clinton and Gov. Richardson? Abortion is an “evil policy”. Then there’s gay marriage. Using your formula of simple logic, they are evil individuals because they support evil policies.

  19. Dershowitz describes an event that took place in the Philippines in 1995. It seems the police captured one Abdul Hakim Murad after finding a bomb-making factory in his apartment in Manila. They beat him and broke his ribs, burned him with cigarettes, forced water down his throat, then threatened to turn him over to the Israelis. Sixty-seven days later…

    So much for the “ticking bomb” scenario…

  20. Mark,

    So much for the “ticking bomb” scenario…

    Exactly. It took them sixty-seven days to finally beat it out of him. The good retired colonel who wrote that piece said at the end:

    According to WO Brian Copeland of the Navy/Marine Intelligence Training Course (NMITC), Dam Neck, Va., current Marine Corps interrogation doctrine is that detainee information is highly perishable and, in a tactical environment, has a shelf life of 24 to 48 hours.

    Unfortunately, people who want to use these “alternative set of procedures” are even worse than this, Mark. They’re not looking for “actionable intelligence.” They’re looking at the mosaic, the grand picture. Get the tiniest of details from this detainee using waterboarding, add it to the tiniest of details from that detainee using sleep deprivation, and they get a mosaic, the grand picture as to how the operation supposedly works. In their hierarchy of priorities, the humanity of an individual is less than the smallest minutae detail that individual knows that might shed one inch of light into a darkness they supposedly could not see any other way. That’s how evil this is! They care more about the smallest thing than the fact that they’ve destroyed a human being.

    And see, this is what gets me….These guys want to catch Bin Laden and get into the inner workings of these terrorist groups. Well, remember a young man named John Walker Lindh? What did this total soft white boy from rich northern California manage to do that CIA trained professionals could not?

  21. Sherpa,

    I have my battles, you have yours. In the grander scheme of things, few things are worse than the use of torture.

  22. Dan, I don’t have battles, I have principles. Firm principles rooted in the gospel.
    Dan, torture is a vile practice.
    That being said, there’s a huge danger in voting for one issue only…or looking at individuals and condemning them to hell because they

    In this world people aren’t simply good and simply evil….almost everyone is a complex individual. The Lord did say, by their fruits ye shall know them…he didn’t say, by their fruit ye shall know them. I think there’s a reason that’s plural.

  23. Here is a great quote–By Danial . . .

    “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer…”

    “But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient.”

    Let’s talk about clear meaning Dan,

    First of all, Dan, its “Obscenity” that Justice Stuart said, “But I know it when I see it,” not “pornography.” This twisting and misunderstanding of the legal meaning of words is exactly what discredits you. You must know what you are talking about when you make such serious allegations against another person! And, obviously, you don’t even know the very-important legal difference between Obscenity and Pornography. You simply barfed on the page and casually plagiarized Justice Stuart’s famous phrase—albeit completely out of context!

    You also said, “The wonderful thing about the Geneva Conventions is that they are vague enough so that they play on common sense.” In the legal realm, we call this a violation a a person’s constitutionally protected due-process rights, or in other words—the law is unconstitutionally vague. It means that those to be punished for braking the law have no way of knowing exactly what it really means or how it will be applied to them. Laws that are built this way violate the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment. That’s another reason for you to define your terms! If you were going to be punished for a crime (i.e. water boarding someone) you have a right to know where the line is.

    It’s a problem some Mormons suffer from—attributing different meanings to common Christian terms. You might know what it means (for example) to be “saved” according to Mormonism. But you know that the rest of Christianity is thinking of something else when you use that word. Mormons have two levels of being “Saved.” The first is saved from death (universal salvation), and the second is being saved “from sin” (exaltation/godhood). You should come out of your “box” and realize that words have different meanings to different people; define what you are talking about—be specific!

    I read all the stuff you wrote on all those other links—it was a wild goose chase! It did not say much more than “torture is bad.” You had no links that would document that Bush was authorizing it (what ever “It” is). You had one relevant reference that I saw: A quote from the CIA manual from 1983 on torture. Unfortunately, there was no authentication from the quote, nor did the quote say that this was something they used against others. It was only stating the purpose of torture, which could have been in the context of how the CIA conditions their own people to withstand torture. In other words, there was no context. Also, 1983, I don’t think Bush was President back then. In fact, it was more likely a left over policy from Jimmy Carter’s days.

    So, do I need it spelled out for me? Yes, I do. What’s wrong with that? If it is so obvious to you, why can’t you point me to a single document where Bush authorized water-boarding—I still don’t know what that means – spell it out! To you, water-boarding might mean giving someone a glass of water on a board. To me, I conjure up someone tied to a board and being dunked in water upside down (I would classify the latter as torture). But I don’t know what YOU are talking about because I have not seen any authorization from the President that talks about water-boarding.

    So, do YOU know what kind of water-boarding YOU are talking about? Is it the “Pornography” kind or the “Obscenity” kind? There is a mighty big difference, especially in the legal realm—just ask Justice Potter Stuart (whom you seem so found of paraphrasing).

  24. By the way, I agree with Sherpa. I have a problem with anyone that speaks in absolutes. There are some areas where I may apply absolutes, but your philosophy and logic must lead you to a terrible place. —If voting for a candidate that supports “alternative questioning procedures” (what ever that is) makes me evil; than what does it mean to you, if you vote for baby killers? You must be evil too.

    Before you make such a strong condemnation of Mitt and others, you should reevaluate your own religious beliefs– “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Matthew 7: 2-5. I don’t think Mormon Doctrine supports such harsh condemnations of others. I know the rest of Christianity does not support your harshness (are Mormons Christian?). Perhaps if you judge him evil so quickly, Christ will do the same for you—when you stand before him to be judged. Are you humble enough to admit when you are wrong—and change your tenor?

    That’s Okay, Dan. I’m a sinner too, and I’m not afraid to admit it. But I think you have convinced me to vote for Mitt. I will keep my eye out for a better candidate, but I am very fascinated with his accomplishments in Massachusetts and the Olympics. And unlike some Presidents, he is very smart. He graduated Valedictorian from BYU, then went on to graduate with honors from Harvard Law School and in the top 5% of Harvard Business School (—no wonder he has money).

    But that’s not all. Most people become prideful when they are well educated. Many think they know it all and their positions become fixed permanently in one position (either for the sake of pride or for the sake of consistency—another form of pride). But Mitt has not been afraid to admit that he was wrong on some issues. He recently was convinced about abortion and stem cells. You might callously judge him to be simply pandering to the religious right, but I don’t think so. Many people feel his conversion is real. Perhaps he is not where you would like him to be on all issues, but who is?

    Also, the fact that he quickly admitted that he was wrong in the past leads me to believe that he is still pliable, teachable, etc. “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” 2 Nephi 9:28–29.

    I’m in Michigan, so I’m going to go check out Mitt’s announcement tomorrow. I simply can’t resist. I will let you know how it goes. But either way Sherpa is right, you should apologize for the strong language you have used against Mitt and repent of your sins . . . least you be judged likewise.

  25. Eric,

    I knew you were looking for a fight. You gave many signs early on. I shouldn’t have bit at your bait. Oh well. Let’s clear up a few things, and hopefully get an apology from you….you say:

    First of all, Dan, its “Obscenity” that Justice Stuart said, “But I know it when I see it,” not “pornography.” This twisting and misunderstanding of the legal meaning of words is exactly what discredits you. You must know what you are talking about when you make such serious allegations against another person! And, obviously, you don’t even know the very-important legal difference between Obscenity and Pornography. You simply barfed on the page and casually plagiarized Justice Stuart’s famous phrase—albeit completely out of context!

    Read it and weep dude. I don’t expect an apology; I don’t usually get it from conservatives when they take such swipes at me, but if you do apologize, I will actually be surprised.

    Justice Stewart used it to give a vague standard for pornography. He wrote: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.” (emphasis added)

    It’s kinda hard to accept the rest of your comments as worthy of response. Yes, I judge Romney harshly. For good reason. I will judge harshly any man that advocates such a policy for my nation, and I will pay the consequences for that. I will never apologize for my stance against those who support torture.

    I have a problem with anyone that speaks in absolutes.

    Then what are you doing frequenting my blog? Deal with it if you come here.

    I don’t think Mormon Doctrine supports such harsh condemnations of others. I know the rest of Christianity does not support your harshness (are Mormons Christian?).

    You wanna talk about getting some serious things wrong? Read this again. You want me to show you numerous examples of Christians very harshly condemning others, authoritatively? Oh there are so many examples. Nice try, though, to portray Christianity, and even Mormonism in some kind light. The truth is harsher than your view of reality.

    Perhaps if you judge him evil so quickly, Christ will do the same for you—when you stand before him to be judged. Are you humble enough to admit when you are wrong—and change your tenor?

    Actually, I very quickly admit when I’m wrong and move on. In this case, I stand by my judgments. If I pay for it in the end, so be it. That’s not your concern.

    I am very fascinated with his accomplishments in Massachusetts and the Olympics. And unlike some Presidents, he is very smart.

    I agree. He is a smart man, and he did much for the Olympics and Massachusetts. My anger towards Mr. Romney is solely about torture. I’ve actually commented here on my blog that I like the old Romney, before his flip-flopping days. Heck, he voted for Paul Tsongas in 1992! That’s who I wanted to be president in 1992.

    All Romney has to do is disavow his current support of Bush’s torture policies. That’s all he has to do. And then he will have my support. As long as he continues agreeing with and advocating Bush’s torture policies, I will fight against Romney.

    He recently was convinced about abortion and stem cells.

    heh, convenient timing……

    Perhaps he is not where you would like him to be on all issues, but who is?

    Like I said, I don’t really care about his other views. I don’t mind a conservative leader. But this issue of torture is very strong for me. Mayhap Sherpa can tell you why (I’ve told her why I’m so strongly against torture).

    Also, the fact that he quickly admitted that he was wrong in the past leads me to believe that he is still pliable, teachable, etc. “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” 2 Nephi 9:28–29.

    He better learn quickly to disavow his earlier support of torture if he wants to even come close to winning in 2008.

    But either way Sherpa is right, you should apologize for the strong language you have used against Mitt and repent of your sins . . . least you be judged likewise.

    And you should apologize for your incorrect criticism of my comments. But I’m not holding my breath.

  26. oh and incase you really want to get technical about Justice Stewart’s comments, yes, the decision regarded the definition of what is obscene, but Justice Stewart’s comments regarded how “hard-core pornography” was defined.

    read it here:

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART, concurring.

    It is possible to read the Court’s opinion in Roth v. United States and Alberts v. California, 354 U.S. 476 , in a variety of ways. In saying this, I imply no criticism of the Court, which in those cases was faced with the task of trying to define what may be indefinable. I have reached the conclusion, which I think is confirmed at least by negative implication in the Court’s decisions since Roth and Alberts, 1 that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. 2 I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

  27. Glad to see that you’re on board! Dan, I was begining to think you wrote that in Wikipedia? You should know that Wikipedia is editable. But that would be much more difficult in a credible source like “Find Law.” For your statement to have been even close to correct, you would have needed to say “hard-core pornography.” But Justice Stuart’s words were recognized by everyone to be an attempt to define “Obscenity,” not pornography. Plain old porn is not what Justice Stuart was talking about. The Supreme Court watched a horribly pornographic movie and the majority, including Justice Stuart, said it was not “Obscene” (and therefore not illegal). Everything he was talking about was an effort to define what “Obscenity” was.

    http://library.findlaw.com/2003/May/15/132747.html

    However, what is even worse for your “vagueness” argument is that Justice Stuart changed his mind in the next major case. He did this because of the difficulty in defining obscenity and because punishing a publisher of obscenity violated their due process rights: they did not know “it” when they saw it! So that undermines your entire premise. Vagueness is a bad policy that violates people’s Civil Rights!

    Otherwise people will say: Dan is for violating our Civil Rights? That is evil, isn’t it? Guess I can’t vote for Dan or I will be Damned: Come on Dan.

    Oh Yah, one last thing. Your comparison between Obscenity and Torture is flawed (really bad) for one other reason. Ask yourself just what the court has found to “be” obscene: Very, very little. You have surfed the net haven’t you? Under your incredibly crazy comparison, torture would not be the broad term that includes cold rooms. Instead, nearly everything would be excluded from the definition – just like Obscenity today. Is that really what you were after?

    Define your terms–you still have not identified what torture is and what Bush is advocating!

  28. It was a great event, by the way. My daughter and I were interviewed on World News Tonight. I was the portly guy, if you saw it.

  29. okay we’re getting on a real tangent here, but, hang on for a second. I read Justice Stewart’s actual words, and well, they sure imply that he was referring specifically to hard-core pornography, and not obscenity as a whole. Let’s read his opinion again:

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART, concurring.

    It is possible to read the Court’s opinion in Roth v. United States and Alberts v. California, 354 U.S. 476 , in a variety of ways. In saying this, I imply no criticism of the Court, which in those cases was faced with the task of trying to define what may be indefinable. I have reached the conclusion, which I think is confirmed at least by negative implication in the Court’s decisions since Roth and Alberts, 1 that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography.

    He starts by pointing out that criminal laws under the First and Fourteenth Amendment in regards to obscenity are “limited to hard-core pornography.”

    2 I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description;

    He continues here, elaborating that he really doesn’t want to define what “hard-core pornography” is. What he calls “that shorthand description” is “hard-core pornography” and not the general term “obscenity.”

    and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

    He concludes that when talking about “hard-core pornography” he knows it when he sees it, and as such doesn’t need clarification. I’m sorry, but while the case did in fact have to do with “obscenity” Justice Stewart’s opinion elaborated on the one point of whether or not the movie in question fit under the First and Fourteenth amendments and their criminal applications, which only deal with “hard-core pornography.”

    I am still waiting for the apology. But I’m not holding my breath.

    Furthermore, I am a librarian. I know how to locate things beyond wikipedia. I guess I shouldn’t assume that some would accept a general encyclopedia like that for a source that is commonly known among all Internet users. Judith Silver, in the link you provided muddied Justice Stewart’s comments and tried to claim that his “I know it when I see it” was about obscenity as a whole, when in fact that’s not the case, upon careful reading of Justice Stewart’s own words.

    Define your terms–you still have not identified what torture is and what Bush is advocating!

    of course I have. You choose not to accept it. Sleep deprivation (which I’ve commented on several times already) is torture, and has been and continues to be used by American military interrogators, for example. These tactics are approved at the highest levels, i.e. Bush himself. Bush dares not speak specifically, and really, you should be pressing him for specifics, not me. Why don’t you press Bush on why he hasn’t identified the tactics he has approved? Why don’t you? Because you don’t care.

    Go ahead and read my new section called On Torture which highlights all the posts I’ve written on the subject. All the evidence is there. But you don’t really care, because you’re not affected by it. Wait until someone close to you is affected by torture and then come back and talk to me about whether or not you think these tactics are something this fine nation of ours should be advocating. Someone very close to me was tortured and is still feeling the severe negative psychological and physical consequences of what this person experienced. This person is seeing a psychiatrist and is on medication to help curb PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), among other psychological problems due to the torture this person faced long ago in a Romanian prison. What this person experienced wasn’t bamboo sticks up the fingernails, or the chopping off of an arm, or anything sadistically crazy like that. No, what this person experienced was sleep deprivation, being locked up in a room with little to no human contact for six months. Cold cells. Psychological interrogations. All these things which are being used right now by our military.

    But you don’t really care, because well it doesn’t affect you, and hey we’re doing it to bad guys. They deserve it right? Heck, if they deserve it, why stop at just sleep deprivation? Why stop at just keeping them locked up in a dark room? Why not go further?

    At what point do we lose our own humanity, Eric?

    It was a great event, by the way. My daughter and I were interviewed on World News Tonight. I was the portly guy, if you saw it.

    I didn’t see it.

  30. Dan, I did not just do a cursory reading of JACOBELLIS v. STATE OF OHIO; I read the entire case in law school. You read Justice Stuart’s short concurring opinion, but you did not read it in the context of the Supreme Court’s actual opinion that he was “concurring with.” To understand the context you must be willing to read it in context—meaning that you must read the entire opinion of the Court. It is undisputable what the case was about—Obscenity. Just read the case.
    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=378&invol=184

    You would have also discovered that he was talking about Obscenity if you had bothered to click on the footnote that he put right after the words “hard-core pornography.” Again, it was linked to a former Supreme Court decision that was undisputedly about defining Obscenity. See People v. Richmond County News.

    So Justice Stuart’s shorthand description (i.e. “hard-core pornography”) was a description of Obscenity not some type of pornography. Besides, hard-core pornography is not illegal and has not been for a very long time. The Court was trying to define the limits of the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. The Court determined long ago that Obscenity was not protected speech. But Dan, the Court has determined that “pornography” IS protected speech because it is not Obscene!

    This is not a tangent, Dan, because you are the one supporting the vague definition of Torture in the Geneva Accords. You were the one that originally compared the vagueness attributes of Torture to pornography—eer Obscenity—by quoting Justice Stuart’s words “I know it when I see it.” You liked its vagueness and found it desirable and when anyone tries to define what torture is, you call them evil!

    Dan, you should hear “the rest of the story” about Justice Potter Stuart (who you admit to be quoting).

    Nine years later Justice Stewart joined the dissent in Miller v. California, and would have thus held that pornography is categorically constitutionally protected (at least where no unwilling viewers or underage viewers are involved). And the dissent’s reasoning focused largely on the vagueness of the existing tests for what’s constitutionally protected and what’s not.

    So Stewart thought he knew it when he saw it. But after seeing enough of it, it seems that he either lost confidence in his own ability to know what should be protected, or concluded that such a test was in any event no way to run a legal system.
    Stewart’s willingness to change his mind, and his ultimate preference for a clear rule of protecting speech — including sexually themed speech of the sort that he probably found personally quite distasteful — strikes me as much more important than his original endorsement of a more vague, case-by-case approach.

    Bush has never said that he did not want torture defined—quite the opposite. He just did not want to disclose the specific interrogation methods used by the CIA because it would enable terrorist to prepare their people to contain the information. This does not mean he endorses torture to acquire the information. We simply don’t know the techniques used.

    You have made assumptions and misjudged the man based on your own flawed and incomplete knowledge.

  31. [quote]I agree. He is a smart man, and he did much for the Olympics and Massachusetts. My anger towards Mr. Romney is solely about torture. I’ve actually commented here on my blog that I like the old Romney, before his flip-flopping days. Heck, he voted for Paul Tsongas in 1992! That’s who I wanted to be president in 1992. [/quote]

    He came off this morning (on [i]Today[/i], with Matt Lauer) as a little [i]too[/i] smart for my tastes. He tried to dodge the flip-flopping (Lauer brought it up) but I saw through that. He says he and his family (How many times did he use that word?) made the final decision at Christmas. If that’s so, why didn’t he run for re-election last year?

    I’m embarrassed to be related to the guy. (And I am, we’re third cousins twice removed.)

  32. Eric,

    I don’t appreciate the condescension. I understand the context. A film was deemed by a lower court to be “obscene.” The Supreme Court overturned this ruling, and Justice Stewart concurred. In his brief, he discussed what he considered at the time criminal under the First and Fourteenth Amendements, “hard-core pornography.” He didn’t want to elaborate what “hard-core pornography” was except that he knew what it was when he saw it.

    I can quote you numerous sources that also concur with me, just as I’m sure you can find numerous sources that concur with your assumption that he was referring to the more general term “obscenity.”

    So let me share with you a few sources:

    The Phenomenology of Pornography

    Most people are familiar with Justice Stewart’s now classic statement that while he cannot describe pornography, he certainly knows it when he sees it. We instantly identify with Justice Stewart. Pornography is not difficult to recognize, but it does elude description. This is because traditional attempts at description are attempts that seek to explain at either an abstract or empirical level rather than at the level that accounts for experience in its totality. Justice Stewart’s lament represents the need to understand the subjective experience of pornography and cease trying to explain it in purely objective terms.

    Office of the Utah State Attorney General Obscenity/Pornography Laws

    People often say that it is impossible to define pornography or that there isn’t a clear definition. They quote Justice Stewart’s infamous words in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 US 184 (1964), “I know it when I see it.” However, to put his words in context, he said that in writing his opinion for the Jacobellis case, he did not need to “attempt to further define the kinds of material” classified as hard-core pornography.

    Pornography and Censorship

    “I can’t define pornography,” one judge once famously said, “but I know it when I see it.” (Justice Stewart in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 US 184 (1964).) Can we do better?

    Pornos devolve into a lesser art form

    The debate started around 1964, when the Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to define “hard-core” pornography by saying “I know it when I see it.”

    Child Pornography on the Internet

    Obscenity has been the subject of several Supreme Court cases and much debate. Supreme Court Justice Stewart once stated that he could probably never accurately define hard-core pornography but he knew it when he saw it.

    On “I Know It When I See It”

    That is a link to an article in JSTOR, if you have access.

    Paul Gewirtz

    The Yale Law Journal, Vol. 105, No. 4. (Jan., 1996), pp. 1023-1047.

    Mr. Gewirtz talks about how this was a case dealing with pornography, and Justice Stewart’s comments regarded defining pornography, not obscenity generally.

    I note that you still haven’t apologized for your very insulting comments. Let me review them again here for you, and hopefully you can see why I found them very offensive.

    First of all, Dan, its “Obscenity” that Justice Stuart said, “But I know it when I see it,” not “pornography.” This twisting and misunderstanding of the legal meaning of words is exactly what discredits you. You must know what you are talking about when you make such serious allegations against another person! And, obviously, you don’t even know the very-important legal difference between Obscenity and Pornography. You simply barfed on the page and casually plagiarized Justice Stuart’s famous phrase—albeit completely out of context!

    Casually plagiarizing? Barfing on the page? Twisting words? I think not. Apologies come really hard for conservatives don’t they?

    Bush has never said that he did not want torture defined—quite the opposite. He just did not want to disclose the specific interrogation methods used by the CIA because it would enable terrorist to prepare their people to contain the information. This does not mean he endorses torture to acquire the information. We simply don’t know the techniques used.

    Yeah, and that’s the weakest excuse ever. Think carefully here. The United States employs techniques that somehow are worse than what “terrorists” already know countries such as Egypt and Syria use? Is that what you, and Bush, are saying? If terrorists already know about techniques that are very reprehensible employed by countries such as Egypt, and supposedly “prepare themselves” then what you are saying is that America’s techniques are far worse than those of Egypt, because they will supposedly be far more effective than what Egypt already employs. No wonder Bush doesn’t want to go public with these techniques. Unfortunately for him and for his supporters, these techniques are already known. They include sleep deprivation and psychological pressures, techniques borrowed from the Soviets. There’s nothing new about them. Moreover, they are proven to not be effective.

    I still wait for an apology.

  33. On the other hand, Eric, supporters of Bush’s torture policies attempt to downplay the negative psychological effect, saying, according to some, that these techniques are not any more hurtful than a college hazing ritual. But if that’s the case, if any college student can stand up to these techniques, why should they be effective on hardened terrorists, especially suicidal terrorists who believe they’ll be in paradise the moment they die?

    Com’on dude, you’re smarter than this….or am I again giving conservatives too much credit?

  34. Eric,

    Read the following:

    Effective Interrogation Without Torture

    All your questions are answered there.

  35. • “I can quote you numerous sources that also concur with me, just as I’m sure you can find numerous sources that concur with your assumption that he was referring to the more general term ‘obscenity.’”
    First of all, much can be said about the authority you cite: Like Wikipedia, “Clyde E Willis” is not your best choice. He bias is obvious to anyone who knows of his work. Don’t get me wrong, he is a good guy trying to do good things in the world (much like you). But he has an agenda (much like you).

    Here, Mr. Willis seeks to equate pornography with obscenity because he wants to make it illegal to suit a feminist ideology: it is degrading to women (not to mention those that view it). This bias is evident in a recent abstract of the very publication you cite:

    Justice Stewart’s lament represents the need to understand the subjective experience of pornography and cease trying to explain it in purely objective terms. Much feminist literature in general and Catharine MacKinnon’s work in particular seeks to do just this. MacKinnon argues that pornography should not be explained in familiar First Amendment freedom-of-expression terms, but rather in terms of the actual sexual abuse it constitutes in experience. Then, and only then, are we able to select the appropriate legal remedy. This essay suggests that MacKinnon’s position not only needs the support of a non-traditional philosophical approach, but has one readily available in the phenomenology of philosopher Edmund Husserl.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/r253063433m4l5p1/

    As you can easily see from the quote above, Mr. Willis has an agenda; therefore you must take what he says with “a grain of salt.”

    Any neutral observers have got to question why you would look to outside sources to justify your position. But then again, the reason is obvious: I already cited to the original authority on the issue—the Supreme Court. You did not like it so you surfed around the net until you found someone else who either misunderstood the decision (like you) or else had a bias.

    So this is not a question about you being able to quote “numerous sources that [agree with you]”; it is about credibility. This is the problem that is woven throughout your entire argument on Torture. You believe who you want to believe, without taking the sources credibility into account! This is why you will not be persuasive to a neutral observer.

    Additionally, you quote others without reading what is said in context. For example you went to the Utah Attorney Generals page on Pornography. Again, there is bias here because Attorney Generals are elected: Judges are not. Politicians have a motive to twist things to their political benefits so they can get re-elected. Supreme Court judges are appointed for life: they don’t need to twist things. Besides, the attorney general is only interpreting what the Supreme Court said. Why do you feel the need to look anywhere besides the Supreme Court? Oh, you can’t justify you view there . . .

    Well let’s take you Utah quote:

    What is the difference between pornography and obscenity?

    Obscenity is the legal term used by the Supreme Court of the United States and the federal law for illegal sexually explicit material. Utah uses the legal term pornography for the same illegal sexually explicit material. The word pornography is also used as a general term for all sexual material, both legal and illegal. This general use of the word pornography can create some confusion for Utah citizens reading material from other states.
    http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/pornography/obscenpornlaws.htm

    Wait a second, that was not the same quote you put on your page. That’s because I read it. They explain it further down. Try reading the source rather than just looking for others to back up your misguided opinion.

  36. Moderation. I must have gotten under you skin. I didn’t mean to do that.

  37. You linked to two websites, which gets sent to moderation automatically. and of course you got under my skin. You’ve insulted me on my blog.

    I’m not going to pursue your red herring any further. You’re a lawyer and I know lawyers just hate it when people don’t agree with how they define their words. They’ll press and press and press to the point of distaste in the debate. Lawyers, like you, love to win no matter the cost. You attempted to BROT earlier about you and your kid on the Evening news, but frankly I really could care less about what the hell you look like, because of the way you come across here.

    You’re obviously not a person I will convince on torture. Go ahead, support evil. I really don’t care. Enjoy hell.

  38. Dan,

    Well first of all, I’m not a lawyer—yet. The thought about my daughter and me, that was just small talk. And last of all, this whole discussion would have never happened if terms like torture were properly defined. It’s hard to have a conversation when the words used mean different things to different people. But perhaps a better understanding can be had with a real life example.

    Muhammed Hanif and Omar Sharif attacked a Tel Aviv bar on April 30, 2003. Hanif blew himself up, while Sharif’s bomb-belt was faulty. http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=752

    Dan, apparently you would have required the Israelis to stop interrogating Sharif at 11:00 pm—so he would not miss any sleep. That seems a little irrational, don’t you think? Should the Israelis give him a quilt and pillow too (I guess so, after all he’s a tourist—eer—terrorist).

    There must be some logical place where the interview should end and the terrorist allowed to sleep; but where is the line Dan? Certainly, it’s not at 11:00pm or even 3am for that matter. I had a brief due last week and I voluntarily stayed up for 40 straight hours so I could hand it in on time. I was tiered—and it was not the best piece of work, but I’m not suffering from emotional distress either (that comes after grading).

    Since 40 hours is done by many on a voluntary basis, I hardly think the line should be drawn there. Where is the line? This is a real problem because if our police, FBI, CIA, etc., don’t know where the line is, people like you would hold them guilty of war crimes when they did not know that they crossed the line.

    But you say you know line when you see it, but as mentioned earlier with Justice Potter Stewart and pornography, even he eventually changed his mind about knowing it when he sees it. Nine years after making the original statement (“I know it when I see it”), he would have categorically held “pornography” as protected speech. That is the opposite result from what you and I want. Both of us want those that torture to come to justice so that future abusers will be deterred. I, however, want there to be a definition of torture so that these evil doers will not be set free on a technicality.

    And this technicality is a bedrock of our civil rights in America. It’s called due process; and it means that the legislature must articulate the law in such a way so that those who are to be punished under it can know it applies to them before they commit the crime.

    Therefore, Dan, you should not have categorically sentenced me to “hell” because I’m not a fan of torture. I just want a definition that will hold up to constitutional scrutiny when it comes time to punish the evil wrongdoers. Your desire for a vague law will set these people free—can’t you see this by now.

  39. Eric,

    Dan, apparently you would have required the Israelis to stop interrogating Sharif at 11:00 pm—so he would not miss any sleep. That seems a little irrational, don’t you think? Should the Israelis give him a quilt and pillow too (I guess so, after all he’s a tourist—eer—terrorist).

    Now you are being ridiculous, and showing that you did not even read the articles and posts I recommended you read. If you had, you would have had an understanding of what “sleep deprivation” is. If you do not read what I provide you, we cannot continue discussing. Your talk about having to stay awake for 40 hours shows your true ignorance, and your lack of research. That’s pretty foolish, Eric. I too have stayed up for 41 hours actually one time. Was I anywhere near a state where I would reveal something to an interrogator? Hardly. I was just fine. Tired, and certainly needing sleep, but nowhere near delusional and hallucinating. You’re downplaying the real thing, pretending it is something many Americans go through on occasion. But you are being fake.

    now THIS is sleep deprivation:

    He might begin with Robert Conquest’s classic work on Stalin, “The Great Terror.” Conquest wrote: “When there was time, the basic [Soviet Secret police] method for obtaining confessions and breaking the accused man was the ‘conveyor’ — continual interrogation by relays of police for hours and days on end. As with many phenomena of the Stalin period, it has the advantage that it could not easily be condemned by any simple principle. Clearly, it amounted to unfair pressure after a certain time and to actual physical torture later still, but when? . . . At any rate, after even twelve hours, it is extremely uncomfortable. After a day, it becomes very hard. And after two or three days, the victim is actually physically poisoned by fatigue. It was as painful as any torture.”

    Conquest stated: “Interrogation usually took place at night and with the accused just roused — often only fifteen minutes after going to sleep. The glaring lights at the interrogation had a disorientating effect.” He quoted a Czech prisoner, Evzen Loebl, who described “having to be on his feet eighteen hours a day, sixteen of which were devoted to interrogation. During the six-hour sleep period, the warder pounded on the door every ten minutes. . . . If the banging did not wake him, a kick from the warder would. After two or three weeks, his feet were swollen and every inch of his body ached at the slightest touch; even washing became a torture.“

    Conquest quoted a Polish prisoner, Z. Stypulkowski, from 1945: “Cold, hunger, the bright light and especially sleeplessness. The cold is not terrific. But when the victim is weakened by hunger and sleeplessness, then the six or seven degrees above the freezing point make him tremble all the time. . . . After fifty or sixty interrogations with cold and hunger and almost no sleep, a man becomes like an automaton — his eyes are bright, his legs swollen, his hands trembling. In this state, he is often convinced he is guilty.”

    Next on the list: Aleksander Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago.” Solzhenitsyn describes the experience of prisoner Anna Skripnikova in 1952: “Sivakov, Chief of the Investigative Department of the Ordzhonikidze State Security Administration, said to her: ‘The prison doctor reports you have a blood pressure of 240/120. That’s too low, you bitch! We’re going to drive it up to 340 so you’ll kick the bucket, you viper, and with no black and blue marks; no beatings; no broken bones. We’ll just not let you sleep.’ And if, back in her cell, after a night spent in interrogation, she closed her eyes during the day, the jailer broke in and shouted: ‘Open your eyes or I’ll haul you off that cot by the legs and tie you to the wall standing up.”

    Elsewhere, Solzhenitsyn writes: “Sleeplessness . . . befogs the reason, undermines the will, and the human being ceases to be himself, to be his own ‘I.’ “

    Finally, the president might review the memoirs of former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin, who describes experiencing sleep deprivation in a Soviet prison in the 1940s: “In the head of the interrogated prisoner a haze begins to form. His spirit is wearied to death, his legs are unsteady, and he has one sole desire: to sleep, to sleep just a little, not to get up, to lie, to rest, to forget. . . . Anyone who has experienced this desire knows that not even hunger or thirst are comparable with it. . . . I came across prisoners who signed what they were ordered to sign, only to get what the interrogator promised them. He did not promise them their liberty. He promised them — if they signed — uninterrupted sleep!”

    The Soviets understood that these methods were cruel. They were also honest with themselves about the purpose of such cruelty — to brutalize their enemies and to extract false confessions, rather than truthful intelligence. By denying this, President Bush is not just misleading us. He appears to be deceiving himself.

    Tell me, how many times of 40 hours without sleep do you think you could endure, Eric? Anyone can endure one 40 hour period of no sleep. That’s easy. I’ve done it once. I’ve stayed up for 35 hours straight another time, and yet another time for 31 hours. Piece of cake. But can you handle something like that for TWO OR THREE WEEKS?

    That’s torture. And yes, sadly torture is something you know when you see it. It cannot be easily defined. Take the words of a professional interrogator, Colonel Herrington who was interviewed recently on the Hugh Hewitt show:

    SH: Well, everybody’s got their own definition, I guess, but to me, torture is brutal, possibly physically and or psychologically extremely damaging treatment, demeaning, but demeaning to the extreme. And it’s one of those things that as the pundit once said, for me, anyway, I know it when I see it.

    The Geneva Conventions are deliberately vague, because they, I guess wrongly, assumed that nations would adhere to their better angels and know what torture is and not need specifics, so as to weasel around.

    I, however, want there to be a definition of torture so that these evil doers will not be set free on a technicality.

    What’s wrong with the Geneva Conventions which have worked so well for the past sixty years? The fact that we, the United States of America, is even having this debate is because America wishes to employ some pretty morally questionable techniques, and doesn’t want to be prosecuted for breaking any law. Aren’t we supposed to avoid even the appearance of evil? Romney, being a Mormon, should know this.

    I just want a definition that will hold up to constitutional scrutiny when it comes time to punish the evil wrongdoers. Your desire for a vague law will set these people free—can’t you see this by now.

    Will set who free? The individuals who apply torture? You mean like the president of the United States who ordered his interrogators to use torture?

    Look the Geneva Conventions have worked just fine to this point. There’s no need to “get specific.” Here’s what we should do instead. Instead of clarifying the law, we should demand the president clarify just which techniques he wishes to use, and then let an independent arbiter decide whether or not that technique is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions. That seems to be the most sensible thing to do.

    Democracies do not survive well with too many secrets. Democracies and free people are stronger when they are more open with each other and with the world around them. What are we afraid of? We already know that the best working techniques are the ones where we actually treat our enemies with respect. It seems logically incoherent to advocate for “taking the gloves off.” And then demand the laws change to fit the new techniques. NO! The laws remain the same, and the techniques are tested to see whether they are lawful. If they are not, those who used them, as well as those who ordered their use, will be punished. This is what Bush doesn’t want. He knows he’s already broken the law. That’s why he pushed so strongly for the Military Detainee Act (or whatever it is called) last year. It is meant to be retroactive. Or did you not notice that little language in the bill.

    Yeah, this is evil stuff man.

  40. “Avoiding the appearance of evil” is not for Romney or President Bush to decide: it is for the legislature to define. If you want to draw the line on the other side of heaven, it is still for the legislature to draw. True, the president executes the law, but he does not write its limits or define its terms. It is the command of the Legislative branch that the Constitution requires the President to follow.

    Besides you can’t avoid the appearance of evil until you have defined what evil is. Remember that the President is not enforcing the law personally; he does it through a system of delegations. Those who receive the delegation—the men on the ground—they need to know it (torture) when they see it. But we all have different backgrounds and words have different meanings to different groups. Without defining the terms—as difficult as that might be—we loose any prospect of Constitutional enforcement.

    As for not reading everything you linked to, I admit it. Much of what I read had little to do with the argument, so I found it frustrating. It seemed that you were trying to prove that torture was bad. I agree. There is no need to rehash things we agree about. I feel better knowing that the Torture line in sleep deprivation cases does not start for a day or two. That would at least give our soldiers and idea—but still no actual line. I don’t mind there being a certain “textual” feel to the definition as long as it conveys a true understanding to law enforcement officers where the line is.

    Also, you mentioned “What’s wrong with the Geneva Conventions which have worked so well for the past sixty years?” Just because a law has not been tested does not mean it works well. Laws are not overturned until they are challenged and they can’t be challenged until they are applied to someone. So a bad law can lay dormant for generations. That is the case at hand. Some people would likely draw the line on torture more narrowly than even you. That’s the problem. Some would afford them all the rights of the criminal justice system – a lawyer during questioning etc.

    “Will set who free? The individuals who apply torture? You mean like the president of the United States who ordered his interrogators to use torture?”

    Anyone who is ever tried for the crime of Torture under this vague standard could not be tried in American Courts or they would be set free—does not matter who. As for the President, you still have not provided documentation that he authorized any such thing. As far as we know the undisclosed techniques involve deciet instead of torture—unless you can prove otherwize you should not assume torture.

    As for an arbitor, who? You? That is not how we make law in a democracy, nor is it how we judge it or enforce it. We have three branches of government for a reason. We should not be circumventing the great Constitution of this land, which was established through wise men who God raised up for that very purpose.

    As for the retroactive protection of soldiers who may have acted beyond the scope of the law, this is good policy because the law could not be Constitutionally enforced on them anyway. The retroactive protection simply establishes that the country is not going to violate our soldiers’ civil rights of due process.

  41. Dan, I was troubled last night with how harsh I was with you on the pornography-obscenity issue. You certainly cited to enough secondary sources to show that the misconception is widespread. And since you are not a lawyer or in law school, I should not have held you to such a strict standard. I therefore apologize. But the lawyers you cited know better, and should be reprimanded for deceiving the general public—even if some of these lawyers are just trying to equate porn and obscenity for the good of our society by seeking the prohibition of the former.

    The problem is that when these lawyers deceive people, even if it seems like it is for the public good on a particular issue, the deception teaches the public false principals. And the horrible repercussion on society is that these false principals will later be borrowed from one area of the law and applied to other areas of the law. So the spreading of this one misconception has the potential to do a lot of damage.

    This damage can be better understood if we thought of how life would be if all laws were written in a vague way. For example, all speed limits signs would say “Don’t Go Too Fast.” After receiving a speeding ticket, it’s not hard to imagine the difficulty you would have defending yourself in court.

    The court would have to get into a very fact specific analysis. What was the weather like? How well was the lighting? What condition was the road in? Was the road straight or on a bend? How many other travelers were on the road at the time? What kind of car were you driving? How new is your car? When was the brake system last checked? How well does your car handle?

    The court’s inquiry could even go so far as to inquire into these same questions for all the other travelers on the road at the time because the responsiveness of the other vehicles on the road would be a factor in determining what was “too fast.”

    Aside from the enormous amount of the court’s time that would be consumed by such a fact specific, case by case inquiry, there is the danger that different judges and juries would interpret such a vague law too differently. This is because even when you know all the fact above, how do you know what “too fast” is? Exactly what rule are you going apply to determine which facts make it “too fast”?

    If the Judge says “I know it when I see it,” are we going to allow officers of the executive branch to say the same thing? After all, the judge was not there to “see it.” So is the judge going to have to defer to the officers who saw it and wrote the ticket? These officers are members of the executive branch. Therefore, we would have a separations-of-powers problem because the same person enforcing the law would be judging the law.

    But on the other hand, if Torture were defined with a hard and fast rule—like a speed limit sign—it would not allow any flexibility or discretion by the interrogators. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the point of view. However, based on the viewpoint that you have been expressing, I would think a hard-and-fast rule or one that at least allowed very little discretion (after some point) would be better suited for your position.

    What do you think about the speed limit analogy?

  42. Eric, kudos for you in keeping it civil. This thread has been interesting to read. Dan’s getting better at keeping debates civil..but I’m a personal witness to the fact that he’s not so good about keeping it civil on the subject of torture—and I too agree that torture is evil.

    Torture to Dan is what abortion or gay marriage is to others. Its his “one issue,” right now. Personally, I see a real danger in one issue voters–on both sides of the line, but that’s just my opinion. Torture drives Dan, and you’ve got to admire his passion–and emotion.

  43. Eric,

    If you want to draw the line on the other side of heaven, it is still for the legislature to draw. True, the president executes the law, but he does not write its limits or define its terms. It is the command of the Legislative branch that the Constitution requires the President to follow.

    It has been drawn already. The Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Convention Against Torture. The rules were quite clear before this Bush administration muddled them.

    That would at least give our soldiers and idea—but still no actual line.

    You still don’t get it. These techniques (no matter how light or hard) are still ineffective. If you don’t read the material I provide for you, you will remain ignorant of this point. Torture (or if you wish to call it “enhanced interrogation techniques”) is ineffective! Getting psychological and physical with a detainee is counterproductive and ineffective. How many times does one need to say this (with evidence no less) that this stuff does not work before it gets through the head of some pretty stubborn Americans?

    Let me ask you, Eric. You are a special ops operative who is tasked with identifying a target. You approach that target, identify it and relay back to your base that an airstrike on the target is set. You are then captured by the enemy. The enemy knows that you possibly have set up for an airstrike, and demands you reveal to them if you did so and when the strike is to occur. Do you reveal to your enemy (and thusly also betray your own country and your own beliefs) the information they seek? Or do you “hold out” until the strike occurs knowing there is no turning back and that strike will occur? If you give up the information, even at the threat of death, have you not become a traitor to your country? What about your family that you supposedly joined the military to protect? Do you really give up that easily knowing that you let the enemy survive and threaten to strike at your family and country another day, or do you give up your life so that your enemy is destroyed?

    If you really advocate the lowering of our standards, if you really advocate “taking the gloves off”, getting dirty, getting physical, trying to break down the mind of the enemy, dehumanize him, then you really don’t know your enemy, and you will lose in the end.

    I really thought Americans were smarter than this, but apparently I’ve got much to learn about Americans.

    Just because a law has not been tested does not mean it works well.

    Actually the Geneva Conventions have been applied in numerous cases worldwide, including Slobodan Milosevich and, America’s favorite dictator, Saddam Hussein. It is a tested law that has been effective in combating torture and the mistreatment of prisoners. Not only that, but the very fact that they exist has saved countless American lives in Vietnam (though there were still numerous incidents of Americans captured and tortured—the number is far less thanks to the Geneva Conventions than what would have been if there were no GC around), and other conflicts.

    You’re really disappointing me Eric. You really don’t have that much knowledge about the subject it seems, but go by what you hear from Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Com’on dude, you gotta know more. Don’t be bamboozled dude.

    Anyone who is ever tried for the crime of Torture under this vague standard could not be tried in American Courts or they would be set free—does not matter who.

    Actually they can and have. The Geneva Convention is the Law of the Land.

    As for an arbitor, who? You? That is not how we make law in a democracy, nor is it how we judge it or enforce it. We have three branches of government for a reason. We should not be circumventing the great Constitution of this land, which was established through wise men who God raised up for that very purpose.

    An independent arbiter is normally a court. Are you sure you are learning to be a lawyer? You’re not showing me you have that good of knowledge about how the court system works…..

    As for the retroactive protection of soldiers who may have acted beyond the scope of the law, this is good policy because the law could not be Constitutionally enforced on them anyway. The retroactive protection simply establishes that the country is not going to violate our soldiers’ civil rights of due process.

    Huh? So let me get this straight, the president willingly breaks the law then demands legislators create a law with retroactive abilities, and you think that’s fine…..

    so, if the president decides to suddenly enact martial law and make himself a king, and then get the legislators to create a law that enables the action retroactively, you’re fine with that? At what point is it bad to break a law? At what point do you actually hold someone accountable for breaking that law?

    Seriously dude, please spend more time studying law than you have to this point. Your arguments reflect that you are still rather ignorant of how laws and the legal system works.

    Let me give you some evidence of Bush advocating for torture (or “alternative set of procedures” as you would rather call them).

    An Alternative Set of Interrogation Procedures

    A necessary supplement to President George Bush’s speech last week on the CIA’s secret detention program is contained in John le Carré’s new novel. Called The Mission Song, the novel includes an extended description of torture that takes up several pages of text.

    President Bush spared the nation such excruciating details. He spoke vaguely and euphemistically of an “alternative set of [interrogation] procedures” – “tough” and “necessary” tactics that made uncooperative detainees talk.
    Click here to find out more!

    Although he was conspicuously reticent about the methods used, he spoke at length about the results. In defending the CIA’s approach to interrogation, he gave a detailed (and probably exaggerated) listing of detainees captured, testimonies obtained, and terror plots foiled.

    Anyone familiar with the methods that the CIA has been employing, knows that Bush defended torture. Numerous intelligence officials have leaked information about abusive tactics to the media, and former CIA detainees like German citizen Khalid el-Masri have spoken out about them.

    It was an ugly speech, and one made at a profoundly opportunistic moment. Most cynically of all, perhaps, was that the President justified his administration’s use of “alternative” methods as part of a “struggle for freedom and liberty.” We’re “fighting for the cause of humanity,” he reminded his audience at the speech’s end, seemingly oblivious to the contradiction between means and ends.

    Torturous Methods

    President Bush was able to deny that the U.S. uses torture because his working definition of the term is so indefensibly narrow. Although the Administration did finally repudiate its 2002 claim that only interrogation methods that caused pain equivalent to that associated with organ failure constitute torture, it still defends methods that cause severe pain.

    Last year, for example, former CIA director Porter Goss endorsed water-boarding, a form of mock execution in which the victim feels he is drowning. Goss called it a “professional interrogation technique,” implicitly lending support to leaked allegations that the CIA has subjected a number of detainees to the practice.

    Bush did not mention water-boarding in his speech, nor did he mention any other specific abusive practice. He explained that if he were to do so, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning. But this explanation is nonsense: The tactics are known and the terrorists already expect them.

    What probably kept him quiet about the specifics was either the political risk of going too far, or – one hopes — a modicum of propriety. It is one thing to consider abuse in an abstract and euphemistic way, but another thing to defend its specific manifestations — the brutality, the pain, and the damage to the human spirit. Few Americans would feel proud if they had to witness the interrogations that took place at secret CIA prisons; even many veteran CIA agents were appalled.

    But by leaving the details unsaid, Bush omitted a crucial part of the story. At least when law professor Alan Dershowitz defended torture, he had the honesty to describe exactly what he was proposing (a sterilized needle under the fingernails was his favored technique).

    President Bush wants it both ways: to justify torture, and to pretend that he’s not.

    The President’s Draft Legislation

    Besides defending past CIA practices, President Bush’s speech had very specific ends. He closed his address by pressing for legislation that would reinstate the military commissions struck down by the Supreme Court, and decriminalize forms of abusive treatment of detainees.

    The details of the draft legislation he is proposing may seem tedious, but the end result is of enormous concern. Not satisfied with upending the rules by itself, the Administration now (spurred by Supreme Court losses) wants Congress to help it.

    But to call the tribunals that Bush is advocating “military commissions” is nearly as euphemistic as calling torture “alternative procedures.” Military lawyers have disowned them, and penal experts all over the world have expressed dismay.

    Whatever the president might argue, torture and kangaroo courts are not going to solve the problem of terrorism.

    Here is Bush in his own words:

    We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

    Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM’s accomplices in the 9/11 attacks — a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody — a terrorist named Majid Khan. KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate known as “J-I”. CIA officers confronted Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative.

    Here is a response from Human Rights First

    The President’s assertion that the interrogation techniques approved for use by the CIA “comply with our laws” is wrong. Quite to the contrary – these techniques violate U.S. law, including U.S. treaty obligations. This “alternative set of [interrogation] procedures” reportedly included waterboarding (submersion in water to simulate drowning), forcing individuals to remain in stress positions for prolonged periods of time, and forced nudity. Over the past five years, senior US Government officials have authorized these and other specific interrogation techniques. But authorizing these practices does not make them legal.

    On the same day as the President made his speech the Army’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, Lt. Gen. John F. Kimmons, announced the Army’s rejection of coercive interrogation techniques in its revised Field Manual on Interrogations. Lt. Gen. Kimmons stated categorically that “[n]o good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices.” Indeed, many interrogators have agreed with Lt. Gen. Kimmons in dismissing the effectiveness of abusive techniques. In their experience, such techniques lead to unreliable intelligence and serve to undermine support for the United States’ efforts with populations whose cooperation and expertise are needed.

    One striking example of the effect of unreliable information is the case of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. In 2002, he was interrogated by the CIA, who turned him over to Egyptian agents for harsh interrogation. Under that interrogation, he gave detailed information describing ties between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, which the administration then relied on to make the case for initiating the war in Iraq. Al-Libi recanted after he was returned to U.S. custody, and the U.S. intelligence community recommended that information obtained from al-Libi be regarded as highly suspect.

    So what did America do to Zubaydah? According to Ron Suskind who wrote the book “One Percent Doctrine”, an account that has yet to be disputed, they waterboarded him, and tortured him.

    Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. “I said he was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?” Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

    What about KSM? Well, he too was waterboarded:

    According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

    “The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

    The techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques “appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.

    It is “bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.

    Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department’s office of counterterrorism, recently wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.”

    One argument in favor of their use: time. In the early days of al Qaeda captures, it was hoped that speeding confessions would result in the development of important operational knowledge in a timely fashion.

    However, ABC News was told that at least three CIA officers declined to be trained in the techniques before a cadre of 14 were selected to use them on a dozen top al Qaeda suspects in order to obtain critical information. In at least one instance, ABC News was told that the techniques led to questionable information aimed at pleasing the interrogators and that this information had a significant impact on U.S. actions in Iraq.

    According to CIA sources, Ibn al Shaykh al Libbi, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, made statements that were designed to tell the interrogators what they wanted to hear. Sources say Al Libbi had been subjected to each of the progressively harsher techniques in turn and finally broke after being water boarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals.

    His statements became part of the basis for the Bush administration claims that Iraq trained al Qaeda members to use biochemical weapons. Sources tell ABC that it was later established that al Libbi had no knowledge of such training or weapons and fabricated the statements because he was terrified of further harsh treatment.

    “This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear,” one source said.

    However, sources said, al Libbi does not appear to have sought to intentionally misinform investigators, as at least one account has stated. The distinction in this murky world is nonetheless an important one. Al Libbi sought to please his investigators, not lead them down a false path, two sources with firsthand knowledge of the statements said.

    This account shows just exactly what these “enhanced alternative set of procedures” that Bush authorized really are. They are:

    1. The Attention Grab: The interrogator forcefully grabs the shirt front of the prisoner and shakes him.

    2. Attention Slap: An open-handed slap aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.

    3. The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed slap to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.

    4. Long Time Standing: This technique is described as among the most effective. Prisoners are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are effective in yielding confessions.

    5. The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees. Throughout the time in the cell the prisoner is doused with cold water.

    6. Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner’s face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

    All of those are beyond what is allowed in the Geneva Conventions, and, well, counterproductive. The last three, in particular, have extreme negative side effects, and are torture. Until you experience for yourself lack of sleep for two or three weeks, or a cold cell for that long, you don’t know how bad it is. And that’s the point.

    The problem is that you supposedly want something “harsher” to deal with a “tougher” enemy, but the problem is that it still degrades our moral standing in the world, it is ineffective, and counterproductive, not to mention dehumanizing the detainees (I know, who cares, right, they’re supposedly evil and bad, blah blah blah.) Well let’s look at Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was tortured by the Bush Administration.

    Read the account of what happened to Mr. Padilla.

    One spring day during his three and a half years as an enemy combatant, Jose Padilla experienced a break from the monotony of his solitary confinement in a bare cell in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston,South Carolina.

    That day, Mr. Padilla, a Brooklyn-born Muslim convert whom the Bush administration had accused of plotting a dirty bomb attack and had detained without charges, got to go to the dentist.

    “Today is May 21,” a naval official declared to a camera videotaping the event. “Right now we’re ready to do a root canal treatment on Jose Padilla, our enemy combatant.”

    Several guards in camouflage and riot gear approached cell No. 103. They unlocked a rectangular panel at the bottom of the door and Mr. Padilla’s bare feet slid through, eerily disembodied. As one guard held down a foot with his black boot, the others shackled Mr. Padilla’s legs. Next, his hands emerged through another hole to be manacled.

    Wordlessly, the guards, pushing into the cell, chained Mr. Padilla’s cuffed hands to a metal belt. Briefly, his expressionless eyes met the camera before he lowered his head submissively in expectation of what came next: noise-blocking headphones over his ears and blacked-out goggles over his eyes. Then the guards, whose faces were hidden behind plastic visors, marched their masked, clanking prisoner down the hall to his root canal.

    […]

    Now lawyers for Mr. Padilla, 36, suggest that he is unfit to stand trial. They argue that he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense. His interrogations, they say, included hooding, stress positions, assaults, threats of imminent execution and the administration of “truth serums.”

    A Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Vician, said Sunday that the military disputes Mr. Padilla’s accusations of mistreatment. And, in court papers, prosecutors deny “in the strongest terms” the accusations of torture and say that “Padilla’s conditions of confinement were humane and designed to ensure his safety and security.”

    “His basic needs were met in a conscientious manner, including Halal (Muslim acceptable) food, clothing, sleep and daily medical assessment and treatment when necessary,” the government stated. “While in the brig, Padilla never reported any abusive treatment to the staff or medical personnel.”

    In the brig, Mr. Padilla was denied access to counsel for 21 months. Andrew Patel, one of his lawyers, said his isolation was not only severe but compounded by material and sensory deprivations. In an affidavit filed Friday, he alleged that Mr. Padilla was held alone in a 10-cell wing of the brig; that he had little human contact other than with his interrogators; that his cell was electronically monitored and his meals were passed to him through a slot in the door; that windows were blackened, and there was no clock or calendar; and that he slept on a steel platform after a foam mattress was taken from him, along with his copy of the Koran, “as part of an interrogation plan.”

    Mr. Padilla’s situation, as an American declared an enemy combatant and held without charges by his own government, was extraordinary and the conditions of his detention appear to have been unprecedented in the military justice system.

    Philip D. Cave, a former judge advocate general for the Navy and now a lawyer specializing in military law, said, “There’s nothing comparable in terms of severity of confinement, in terms of how Padilla was held, especially considering that this was pretrial confinement.”

    Ali al-Marri, a Qatari and Saudi dual citizen and the only enemy combatant currently detained in the United States, has made similar claims of isolation and deprivation at the brig in South Carolina. The Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Vician, said Sunday that he could not comment on the methods used to escort Mr. Padilla to the dentist. Blackened goggles and earphones are rarely employed in internal prison transports in the United States, but riot gear is sometimes used for violent prisoners.

    One of Mr. Padilla’s lawyers, Orlando do Campo, said, however, that Mr. Padilla was a “completely docile” prisoner. “There was not one disciplinary problem with Jose ever, not one citation, not one act of disobedience,” said Mr. do Campo, who is a lawyer at the Miami federal public defender’s office.

    They broke Jose Padilla, but they broke him so much he’s basically nothing but a “piece of furniture” now. And just what did he offer to the interrogators? Nothing. That’s an American citizen, accused of being a terrorist, but never actually convicted of anything.

    Look at the picture yourself. Dehumanization is what you call this.

    Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings gives us three parts (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three) on the torture of Jose Padilla. I highly recommend you read those accounts before you comment on Jose Padilla.

    This is evil stuff and will bring down our nation.

  44. Dan,
    Thanks for keeping it civil. Here is the relevant quote that you cited me to:
    “Last year, for example, former CIA director Porter Goss endorsed water-boarding, a form of mock execution in which the victim feels he is drowning. Goss called it a “professional interrogation technique,” implicitly lending support to leaked allegations that the CIA has subjected a number of detainees to the practice.
    Bush did not mention water-boarding in his speech, nor did he mention any other specific abusive practice. He explained that if he were to do so, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning.”
    http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/mariner/20060911.html
    Dan, this does not tell me much. It does not say that President Bush supports water boarding. (Thanks for finally defining what water boarding is). But Porter Goss’s endorsement of water boarding is not proof that President Bush is supporting or that the CIA is using it (this was not a policy statement). Again, your beef is with Congress not the President. Democrats control Congress, so lobby them to outlaw water boarding.

    But your reliance on Joanne Mariner is also not persuasive. Her political bias is not limited to her position with the Human Rights Watch. She was against President Bush long before he was elected because Bush said he would appoint conservative judges like Scalia and Thomas. Joanne Mariner is irate at those two justices in particular because or their stance on several issues.

    These issues that upset her so much indicate that she supports abortion rights, affirmative action, and gun control. But she is against capital punishment and limiting federal power. Joanne Mariner went so far as to advocate a Democratic Filibuster in 2002 to stop the appointment of George Bush’s Judges. She says:

    “If the ugly legacy of the most objectionable rulings of the 1940s Supreme Court is not enough to remind Democratic Senators of the need to act as a moderating force against far right judicial nominees, they should consider the many fundamental issues with which the courts are currently grappling: racial discrimination, abortion, the line between security and privacy in the fight against terrorism, the death penalty, and environmental regulation, among others.”
    http://www.counterpunch.org/mariner1126.html

    There is no question that you rely almost solely on reports by obviously biased people like Joanne Mariner—above. I have no problem stating that reports from Rush Limbaugh lean to the right. You should be so brave.

    I also have no problem saying that I have questions about what is going on. But I’m not ready to condemn the President without knowing exactly what he is doing. You are.

    There are ways to find out what is going on, and the Congress has that power. Since they are Democrats, they should not have any problem getting to the bottom of this. And if they feel a law is in order . . . they should define what torture is and make the President face it. A veto would bring him out in the open because he would have to take a stand.

    “Click here to find out more!” Where, you forgot the link.

    “Anyone familiar with the methods that the CIA has been employing, knows that Bush defended torture. Numerous intelligence officials have leaked information about abusive tactics to the media, and former CIA detainees like German citizen Khalid el-Masri have spoken out about them.”

    Are they credible? How do you know?

    “Last year, for example, former CIA director Porter Goss endorsed water-boarding, a form of mock execution in which the victim feels he is drowning. Goss called it a “professional interrogation technique,” implicitly lending support to leaked allegations that the CIA has subjected a number of detainees to the practice.”

    This is a direct quote of Joanne Mariner. You should at least attribute it to her or you might be accused of Plagiarism again. Again she is biases and you obviously adopt her view. Are you pro-choice too; against the death penalty; pro-Gay, etc.? It’s okay if you are; I have not beef with that. It’s your prerogative. But you should be aware of these other viewpoints when you crawl into bed with someone. At very least, the viewpoints are being brought out into the open so everyone can see where these biases are and what other viewpoints are associated with them. It helps to identify the underlying agenda, which seems to be just plain old anti republican.

    That’s okay too, but I could to without the subterfuge.

    “He closed his address by pressing for legislation that would reinstate the military commissions struck down by the Supreme Court . . . .”

    Please keep in mind that these commissions had nothing to do with torture; correct me if I’m wrong. (I would rather be wrong and then corrected than to just hold to a baseless belief).

    Here are the highlights of the speech you sent me too: it totally debunks all of your statements.

    To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.

    In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly [sic], questioned by experts, and — when appropriate — prosecuted for terrorist acts.

    One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him — he said this: “I’ll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers, your mother, and sisters.”
    In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.
    Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks — here in the United States and across the world. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.
    Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. Our intelligence community believes he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained, and that he helped smuggle al Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan after coalition forces arrived to liberate that country. Zubaydah was severely wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody — and he survived only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.
    After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information — and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the “nominal” information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — or KSM — was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias “Muktar.” This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States — an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained — one while traveling to the United States.
    We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.
    Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM’s accomplices in the 9/11 attacks — a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
    Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody — a terrorist named Majid Khan. KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate known as “J-I”. CIA officers confronted Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative.
    Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali. After Hambali’s arrest, KSM was questioned again. He identified Hambali’s brother as the leader of a “J-I” cell, and Hambali’s conduit for communications with al Qaeda. Hambali’s brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian “J-I” operatives. When confronted with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives were being groomed at KSM’s request for attacks inside the United States — probably [sic] using airplanes.
    During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows.
    KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda’s efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda’s efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent — and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM’s arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid’s role in al Qaeda’s anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.
    These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti — they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.
    This program has also played a critical role in helping us understand the enemy we face in this war. Terrorists in this program have painted a picture of al Qaeda’s structure and financing, and communications and logistics. They identified al Qaeda’s travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaeda’s senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like Iraq. They provided information that allows us — that has allowed us to make sense of documents and computer records that we have seized in terrorist raids. They’ve identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications.

    The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence, and we’ve received — that we’ve received from other sources — and together this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places. It’s helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.

    This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they’ve determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA’s Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they’re screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.
    I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.

    “The Supreme Court determined that military commissions are an appropriate venue for trying terrorists, but ruled that military commissions needed to be explicitly authorized by the United States Congress.”

    “As we move forward with the prosecutions, we will continue to urge nations across the world to take back their nationals at Guantanamo who will not be prosecuted by our military commissions. America has no interest in being the world’s jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated — or they will not return to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have. We will continue working to transfer individuals held at Guantanamo, and ask other countries to work with us in this process. And we will move toward the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.”
    “I know Americans have heard conflicting information about Guantanamo. Let me give you some facts. Of the thousands of terrorists captured across the world, only about 770 have ever been sent to Guantanamo. Of these, about 315 have been returned to other countries so far — and about 455 remain in our custody. They are provided the same quality of medical care as the American service members who guard them. The International Committee of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are held there. The facility has been visited by government officials from more than 30 countries, and delegations from international organizations, as well. After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo “a model prison” where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country. Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay — and so can the American people.”

  45. Eric,

    But Porter Goss’s endorsement of water boarding is not proof that President Bush is supporting or that the CIA is using it (this was not a policy statement).

    I wasn’t using Porter Goss’s endorsement of waterboarding as proof that Bush ordered it. It just happened to be part of the quotes. What evidence I do use to prove that Bush ordered the use of waterboarding is the Ron Suskind account about Zubaydah, which, I note with some interest, you never commented on. Instead you took up most of your comments with a rehash of what Bush said, as if repeating his words will somehow bring me closer to believing him.

    Was Ron Suskind wrong in attributing to Bush the following:

    Which brings us back to the unbalanced Abu Zubaydah. “I said he was important,” Bush reportedly told Tenet at one of their daily meetings. “You’re not going to let me lose face on this, are you?” “No sir, Mr. President,” Tenet replied. Bush “was fixated on how to get Zubaydah to tell us the truth,” Suskind writes, and he asked one briefer, “Do some of these harsh methods really work?” Interrogators did their best to find out, Suskind reports. They strapped Abu Zubaydah to a water-board, which reproduces the agony of drowning. They threatened him with certain death. They withheld medication. They bombarded him with deafening noise and harsh lights, depriving him of sleep. Under that duress, he began to speak of plots of every variety — against shopping malls, banks, supermarkets, water systems, nuclear plants, apartment buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty. With each new tale, “thousands of uniformed men and women raced in a panic to each . . . target.” And so, Suskind writes, “the United States would torture a mentally disturbed man and then leap, screaming, at every word he uttered.”

    I mean, I really come back to wondering if you actually are reading all my words, or just cherrypicking the only things you could possibly defend, and create red herrings. All that Suskind reports occurred to Zubaydah happened at the request of the President of the United States.

    President Bush says the following about KSM:

    Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States.

    He’s referring there to the “enhanced alternative set of procedures” that he advocates, and that he ordered the CIA to employ. Just what did the CIA do to KSM? Read:

    According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda’s toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

    “The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law,” said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch.

    He was waterboarded. Put two and two together, Eric. The president’s “alternative set of procedures” included the use of waterboarding.

    Or do you even read my whole argument? I’d like a straightforward answer to that question. If not, there’s no point in continuing discussing with you and any future comments you write I will delete, because they become a waste of my time.

  46. I read them. But I often had the same questions about you.

    It seems we have irreconcilable differences. I will ponder on your arguments. It is obvious that some harsh procedures might be used in the interrogations, but I’m not sure whether it crosses the line. It might. But I find the President’s statements very persuasive too. I’m not willing to discount them off hand. There is also the serious question about whether these procedures are justifiable, given the circumstances—even if they do cross the line. It really bothers me to say that. I’m sure you will condemn me as evil for even considering it. Regardless, I will have to think on it.

    Obviously, the information they achieve this way is being substantiated. It does work. That being said, is it right? Does the bar move depending on the circumstances? If it does, then maybe your vague definition is a good idea. I will think on it and get back to you in a few weeks.

  47. Eric,

    I missed your earlier “speed limit” analogy, and your apology.

    When I read that analogy, I couldn’t help but think of the following scripture from D&C 58:26

    26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.

    As a response, I would note that the Constitution of the United States, as the Founding Fathers wrote it, was quite a vague document, lacking a great amount of specifics. And note that we’ve only had to “clarify” the Constitution 27 times. That’s pretty impressive. Basically what I am saying is that while there are aspects of life where such minutiae are required for easy instruction (such as driving), there are far too many aspects of life where the rules have to be general and vague in order to be effective. And this is usually the case because of exceptions that, if a law were too detailed, would suffocate the ability to enforce that law.

    There is a great power in a law being general rather than specific. It forces those who are bound to that law to stay away from coming close to violating that law, as it has worked for the Geneva Conventions over the past sixty years. With numerous examples of the GC being applied in cases, there has never been a question about the specifics, because it was generally accepted that if you move in the direction of abuse, you violate the law.

    Now, ask yourself, what are the reasons for moving America towards violating the Geneva Conventions? What exactly has changed? We’ve got an enemy that is very secretive. Fine. The military’s techniques to this point have been working well. And all evidence points to harsher techniques not working so well. So just why do we need to get tougher? Why do we need to risk America’s moral standing in the world? It certainly isn’t about intelligence, or information, because as has been proven, these harsher methods don’t give you credible information. So what other reasons can there be? One stands out above all the others as the one that best fits the facts. The United States, under Bush, is sending a message to the world: “we don’t play nice anymore.” Why else do we “get tougher,” use “harsher” techniques?

    The reason your “speed limit” analogy doesn’t fit with this law is that when you get down to specifics, the exceptions will kill you. The Justice Department tried getting specific in the infamous Bybee Memo (yes, written by a Mormon—how shameful!), which had to be disavowed upon release to the public, and the public’s utter revulsion at what was written forced the Justice department’s hand. You ask about specifics. Okay, what is torture to a man with a heart problem? How far is too far with someone who suffers from asthma? Where do you draw the line with someone who suffers from any number of diseases or trauma suffered as a kid (these guys come from war zones—at least Afghanistan). Do you create something different for people who come from one country versus another? Do you see how silly this becomes?

    On the other hand, the interrogation techniques the military has been using under Geneva Convention guidelines have actually been quite effective. This is what Colonel Herrington said in his interview with Hugh Hewitt about them:

    SH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Basically, when a guy is captured, he’s stressed, he is frightened, and he’s probably expecting to be mistreated, because in most societies in the world, that’s the way it works. Disarming him psychologically, by treating him in a manner the opposite of what he expects, extending decent, humane treatment to him, showing concern for himself, his needs, being nimble in assessing and evaluating the person, and recognizing that getting information from someone is developmental, i.e. you won’t get information from someone, generally speaking, just by saying okay, I’m the captor, you’re the prisoner, tell me what you know. You earn it. I like to say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed probably didn’t give up a lot of the information that he gave up because somebody started water boarding him and beating him up. Instead, they used a very clever approach, and played to his ego and his psychological need to be recognized as the architect of 9/11, and the guy talked. In all of the successful interrogation projects that I’ve ever had anything to do with, extending fundamentally decent treatment to the detainees, we even used to call them guests. And you know, the guards would salute a prisoner if he was an officer, and we give them good food, and we would tell them it was unconditional, regardless of whether they chose to talk with us or not. And that type of an approach has a very high batting average.

    He’s a professional interrogator who has conducted thousands of interrogations. I trust his word over Bush’s any day. And he tells you that the most effective way is to actually be kind. How about that?

    So the professional interrogator says be nice, Bush says he needs to use the “alternative set of procedures” which we know include waterboarding and sleep deprivation, which are illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

    So just why do we need to clarify anything when the things that work are what is allowed under the Geneva Conventions all along?

  48. Eric,

    Obviously, the information they achieve this way is being substantiated. It does work. That being said, is it right? Does the bar move depending on the circumstances? If it does, then maybe your vague definition is a good idea. I will think on it and get back to you in a few weeks.

    It is time for you to provide the evidence. Show me evidence that these techniques work, and you have to do better than the word of the president of the United States. His word lacks major credibility at this moment in time.

    Show me interrogators, the men in the field, who can claim they work better than the old fashioned techniques. Let me see your evidence.

  49. Eric,

    There is also the serious question about whether these procedures are justifiable, given the circumstances—even if they do cross the line. It really bothers me to say that. I’m sure you will condemn me as evil for even considering it. Regardless, I will have to think on it.

    Given what circumstances?

  50. Eric,

    One more read for you. It is from a lawyer, Glenn Greenwald.

    The Bush administration’s torture of US citizen Jose Padilla.

  51. I have not forgotten or disappeared. I’m still thinking (and a little overloaded with unrelated research) so my response time is more delayed. I am still reading some of the information you pointed me to. I’m about a third the way done with the Bybee torture memo. It seems very well put together so far. It gives great background on the law and treaty. If you have something written that takes the other side to this legal analysis, I would be willing to read it too. But one thing you should keep in mind before condemning the authors of the memo is that they were asked for a legal opinion on what the law “is”—not what it should be. So you need not be embarrassed by sharing the author’s religion (that’s not relevant anyway).

    So far, the memo makes a good case that the statute is not very vague. Another important point, if you should chose to actually read the memo, is that there are many “terms of art” that are being used by both Congress and in this memo. And like the word “Obscene,” the terms have already been defined by the Court. But because it is a term of art, you will not find the definition in Webster’s dictionary—nor will it often be intuitive.

    Now to respond to a few of your questions and comments:

    —“The military’s techniques to this point have been working well. And all evidence points to harsher techniques not working so well. So just why do we need to get tougher? Why do we need to risk America’s moral standing in the world? It certainly isn’t about intelligence, or information, because as has been proven, these harsher methods don’t give you credible information.”—

    First, I don’t know that we are really doing much different, in practice, than we did before. I hold open, of course, that we are. (I also understand that there have been some bad incidences recognized and punished in the past—before Bush took office). What the actual procedures are and how they have evolved is not really known even though there have been “leaks.” Unless you believe CIA or other leaks don’t have agendas behind them.

    Second, if we are using different techniques, you have no proof that they are not working better then the old ones. The evidence seems to indicate otherwise. We have not had any successful terrorist attack carried out against us in 5 years. So the techniques used prior to 9/11 obviously did not work or 9/11 would not have happened. It is also a crazy idea to think the terrorists have not tried because they had tried before 9/11 (the World Trade Center had been attacked previously), and many other countries have been attacked since, just ask Spain.

    Last, if your premise is that inflicting pain and suffering is a “completely ineffective” technique for gaining useful information, then the techniques would be left naked without any legitimate justification. Left naked, it would be entirely evil because its only justification would be the gratification of the captors. If this premise is correct, then I agree with you whole heartedly—it’s just plain evil. And if the interrogators are not acquiring useful information by using their techniques, then those techniques should be abandoned—regardless of whether they are harsh or not.

    But I believe most people that support these techniques do so because they believe that good information is acquired, and most would not support them for revenge only.

    —“Okay, what is torture to a man with a heart problem? How far is too far with someone who suffers from asthma?”—

    I believe such circumstances would have to be taken into consideration under a “totality of the circumstances” approach. Such is often the case with our own criminal justice system.

    —“I like to say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed probably didn’t give up a lot of the information that he gave up because somebody started water boarding him and beating him up. Instead, they used a very clever approach, and played to his ego and his psychological need to be recognized as the architect of 9/11, and the guy talked.”—

    What first-hand info does this guy have? Was he there? He may well be right or wrong, but he used the word “probably.” This indicates he does not really know. You can not build a case based speculation or by relying on someone else’s first-hand speculation.

    —“It is time for you to provide the evidence. Show me evidence that these techniques work . . . Show me interrogators, the men in the field, who can claim they work better than the old fashioned techniques. Let me see your evidence.”—

    Last I checked, people were not standing in line to admit to using such techniques (or even admitting what these techniques really are). But as mentioned earlier, there have not been any successful attacks on our soil since 9/11. Since you believe that we are using different techniques, I don’t have to prove that we are (or even believe it myself). So the “old” techniques that you believe were being used did not prevent 9/11, but since the supposed “new” techniques that you believe are in place now—there have been no successful attacks. That’s pretty compelling.

    —“There is also the serious question about whether these procedures are justifiable, given the circumstances—even if they do cross the line. It really bothers me to say . . . .”
    “Given what circumstances?”—

    While my question is premised on the techniques actually providing “useful information,” there are other circumstances that I had in mind as well. Conventional war tactics do not work well (if at all) against an enemy without a nation, without a definable location, without a frontline, especially when our citizens are the primary targets and the goal is to terrorize our citizens into voting others into office to change our public policy.

    The terrorists exploit the weaknesses of democracy by attacking those with the power directly: they prefer to attack our citizens directly for this reason. But while there are many parts to “the circumstances,” I believe there are some techniques we should not use to gain information. So for me, one of the big questions is what degree of vagueness is appropriate for defining this area where we should not go—regardless of the potential for enormously useful information.

    Like I said, I’m still thinking about it and reading the memo you directed me to. I will get back when I know enough to form an opinion. But I will also peek in occasionally to see if you have added anything specifically that could point me in a new direction—like the Bybee memo (good stuff—thanks).

  52. Eric,

    It seems very well put together so far. It gives great background on the law and treaty. If you have something written that takes the other side to this legal analysis, I would be willing to read it too. But one thing you should keep in mind before condemning the authors of the memo is that they were asked for a legal opinion on what the law “is”—not what it should be. So you need not be embarrassed by sharing the author’s religion (that’s not relevant anyway).

    Put together well? Are you serious? You do realize that the memo was disavowed, and for good reasons! As far as my condemnation of the author, Mr. Jay Bybee and his religion, his religion is my religion, and in no way does my religion (Mormonism) condone torture, as such I condemn him and the blight he puts on my religion!

    As far as sources that show why the Bybee Memo (and all other torture memos emanating from the White House) are disgraces to the rule of law and order, I offer you the following sources. Mind you they are plenty, and very comprehensive. It should take you a while to review them and understand that the Bybee Memo is not good legal writing, nor a good understanding of the law. It is at its heart an attempt to find a loophole, to justify actions already taken by the CIA at the orders of the Bush administration. Before the Bybee Memo was written, Bush had already ordered the CIA to break the law and torture other human beings. As such Bush needed a legal escape route. The Bybee Memo was written for this intent. It is evil stuff man!

    Anyways, here are many sources. Please review them carefully.

    Why the Bybee Memo reads like a one-sided brief: it was (for the CIA)

    No, what the NYT suggests is that the memo was written after the CIA had already done something — presumably excessive — to one of the detainees. Thus, it seems likely the White House was scrambling to find some legal cover for abuses that had already happened:

    Legal Scholars criticize memos on torture

    Common Article 3, Torture and Specific Intent

    The rest of the links come from Jack Balkin Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale University. I would say he’s pretty knowledgeable about the legality and illegality of torture.

    Legal Scholars assess the Torture memos

    These memos do not read as if the authors were acting as counsel for the nation. They read as if someone in the White House told them to write a memo that stretched the law as much as possible in order to conclude that the President can do whatever he wants.

    These memos make bad legal arguments. But quite apart from their incompetence, they are also bad lawyering; they misunderstand the ethical role of the government lawyer.

    White House backs away from torture memo

    All of this begs the most important question: Why would the White House Counsel have requested such a memo in the first place? Generally speaking, when a superior asks a subordinate to do legal work, there is usually a back and forth about what questions are to be asked and what conclusions the memo is going to reach. That is especially the case when, as in the Bybee memo, the result is a finished product. To say that this memo was simply dropped on Gonzales’ lap is ridiculous. Rather, it is more likely that Gonzales, and Bybee, and the rest of the team went over the memo with some care.

    The question I have for the White House is, why isn’t Gonzales resigning over this? And why hasn’t the White House strongly repudiated Bybee, who now sits on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals? The reason seems clear enough: This wasn’t a frolic and detour; Gonzales and Bybee were doing exactly what was asked of them.

    To our great shame

    Three of the most significant problems with the “compromise”

    The following two links are to numerous posts the authors of Balkinization have written about the torture memos and torture itself in America:

    Anti-torture memos, balkinization posts

    The anti-torture memos

    All are highly recommended readings if you wish to know what you are talking about regarding state-sanctioned torture under the Bush administration. And in regards to Romney, because he says he supports Bush, that means that he supports all of this. As such, Romney is an evil man.

    As to replying to the rest of your comments, I will take that up in the next comment.

  53. First, I don’t know that we are really doing much different, in practice, than we did before.

    Yes, we are doing things far differently than before. We did not employ these techniques before 9/11, and for good reason. They are illegal under both American and international law.

    Second, if we are using different techniques, you have no proof that they are not working better then the old ones. The evidence seems to indicate otherwise.

    “working better.” That would imply just information gathering right? Well, let me ask you something, why have we not yet been able to locate Al-Qaida leadership? Why has Al-Qaida regrouped so strongly in Pakistan? If this “intelligence gathering” employing torture supposedly has worked, then we would have the information we need to get the guys who attacked us. But you know what we see instead? We see that our intel on Iraq was faulty. We see that our intel on Iran is faulty as well. Just weeks ago we were presented “evidence” in an anonymous briefing (to supposedly keep secret the persons in charge of finding evidence—but really because no one in the Bush administration wants to take responsibility anymore) that Iran was supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents to kill Americans, and that this information led to the “highest levels of the Iranian government.” When pressed for clarity and evidence, we find that not only was that incorrect, but that the weapons were actually manufactured in Iraq and sold on the black market, and that pieces of the weapons were made in Iran, but certainly had nothing to do with the Iranian leadership. Where the hell did this crappy intel come from? Tortured detainees perhaps, who told their interrogators what they thought their interrogators wanted to hear, so that the pain would ease?

    We have not had any successful terrorist attack carried out against us in 5 years.

    Uh, we may not have had a terrorist attack here in the United States since 9/11, but don’t you think we have not had terrorist attacks against Americans since 9/11. By going into Iraq, we gave them all the American targets they needed.

    So the techniques used prior to 9/11 obviously did not work or 9/11 would not have happened.

    Where do you get this logic? Are you really saying that the reason we were hit on 9/11 is because we weren’t immoral enough to resort to torturing people?

    Last, if your premise is that inflicting pain and suffering is a “completely ineffective” technique for gaining useful information, then the techniques would be left naked without any legitimate justification.

    Exactly. I’m glad you are starting to see the light.

    Left naked, it would be entirely evil because its only justification would be the gratification of the captors. If this premise is correct, then I agree with you whole heartedly—it’s just plain evil. And if the interrogators are not acquiring useful information by using their techniques, then those techniques should be abandoned—regardless of whether they are harsh or not.

    That does seem to be the case, with the exception that we have not yet abandoned these practices. Instead, and this is the truly evil part of it, we have legalized it with the Military Detainee Act of last year.

    But I believe most people that support these techniques do so because they believe that good information is acquired, and most would not support them for revenge only.

    show me your evidence of this. I’ve shown you plenty of evidence countering the use of torture, and how ineffective it is. show me all your evidence that it is effective, or quit saying it is.

    What first-hand info does this guy have? Was he there?

    That would be Colonel Herrington, who is now retired, and who has been an interrogator for the Army his whole life. He has interrogated thousands of prisoners from Vietnam on to now. He advised the military in Iraq on interrogation practices. As such, his knowledge and his connections to those who are current interrogators should suffice to give a pretty accurate portrayal of what happened to KSM. And again, if you doubt it, show me your evidence to counter what Colonel Herrington said.

    Since you believe that we are using different techniques, I don’t have to prove that we are (or even believe it myself). So the “old” techniques that you believe were being used did not prevent 9/11, but since the supposed “new” techniques that you believe are in place now—there have been no successful attacks. That’s pretty compelling.

    That is very poor logic and unacceptable. Either you show me evidence, or you back off the claim that it is effective.

  54. http://www.mormon.citymax.com/LDSJudge.html

    Is this where you are getting all your logic? It is meant as a joke, but is worth reading. It’s funny when you dig to the bottom of where some of this conspiracy crap comes from. You should know that a lot of people rely on this Mr. Pitt as a source for your arguments; some consider him a respectable Mormon (as opposed to Mitt). I’m sure you would not.

    I’m still processing the information you gave me so please don’t consider this my real response. But one point: proving the lack of information to accomplish a goal is a logical blunder – you know better than that. All it points out is the non happening of an event. It certainly can’t be used to support an argument unless the “non happening of an event” is your point. You can’t equate the non-capture of a particular terrorist with the non happening of a terrorist event on American soil. The first requires offensive tactical info while the second requires only defensive tactical info. It’s much harder to sac the quarterback than it is to foil the play—so your comparison was just plain beneath you.

    The point stands un-refuted that 9/11 happened because of poor intell, the WMDs for the same reason, but no 9/11 type event has occurred since and, as you so adequately pointed out, the weapons from Iran . . . we figured that out now didn’t we. That’s better than going in have cocked on bad info. So you proved the point that our intell is better now than it was. It would be inappropriate to attribute the better intell to any specific change because there have been many—but it would also be inappropriate to take any specific change and say that the better intell did not result from it. That’s because logic rarely ever allows you to prove a negative in this manner.

    But Mr. Pitt has it all figured out. It’s not much reading but it sure is telling.

    This one is about Mitt: its amazing what people believe—but you might get some good info:
    http://www.mormon.citymax.com/MittMormon.html

    Most of the really good stuff is after his Mr Bybee comments:
    http://www.mormon.citymax.com/LDSJudge.html

  55. Eric,

    Is this where you are getting all your logic?

    hardly, and I don’t appreciate links to anti-mormons on my site. secondly, I’m rather disappointed that you don’t think I can think for myself about Mr. Bybee. My opinion of Mr. Bybee stems directly from his memo and from no place else. I shouldn’t disparage him though as much as I am, because his boss, Mr. Bush, broke the law and asked him to find a legal way around it, and really it is his boss, Mr. Bush who should be disparaged and tried for breaking the law.

    proving the lack of information to accomplish a goal is a logical blunder – you know better than that. All it points out is the non happening of an event.

    Huh? What are you talking about? You’re accusing me of using this when you yourself used this? The non-happening of an event? You mean like no terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11? You’re starting to lose the debate right here, dude. Better get the logic back on track.

    The point stands un-refuted that 9/11 happened because of poor intell,

    I never disputed that, but that was not your original point. Let’s go back and review your own words. This is what you said:

    So the techniques used prior to 9/11 obviously did not work or 9/11 would not have happened.

    Because we’re talking on this post about torture, your implication here is that because the techniques we used pre-9/11 did not work, it means those techniques, i.e. the lack of use of torture, caused 9/11 to happen, or failed to stop 9/11 from happening. But that is an absurd review of pre-9/11 intelligence. We failed to stop 9/11 because when the intelligence we had was passed on to the leaders in our government, it was dismissed (think of the August 2001 memo Bin laden Determined to Strike in US for example). It wasn’t a failure by the lower-level intel professionals. It was the leaders who failed to take action when presented with what they had.

    Does this mean that 9/11 would have been foiled if we had tortured people beforehand? We’ll never know. We can only speculate from our armchair quarterbacking spots.

    However, to say that torture has stopped terror from striking Americans is to not have a good understanding of what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. These techniques, these uses of torture have been employed in both countries since 2003. Yet they have failed to stop attacks on Americans in both countries. Terrorists have struck at Americans on far too many occasions to count here. To say we have not been hit since 9/11 by a terrorist attack is not truthful.

    You state in #51 the following:

    We have not had any successful terrorist attack carried out against us in 5 years.

    Then you move the goalposts to say:

    But as mentioned earlier, there have not been any successful attacks on our soil since 9/11.

    You’ve got to be careful about how you state things, Eric. You’re studying law. Didn’t they teach you this?

  56. This is also not my full response, but it is a heads up on where I’m leaning when it comes to the level of vagueness needed to properly prohibit torture.

    Here is another torture case where the victim, Jim Auld, was beaten repeatedly by the British in a very cruel manner and made to stand against the wall spread eagle for days. He was also deprived of sleep and food for days. They used what came to be known as the “Five Techniques,” and they are very inhumane! This case is every bit as compelling as the one you cited—it’s even more compelling than Jose Padilla. That is not to take anything away from Mr. Padilla, he was mistreated horribly. The New York Times quotes Mr. Auld’s horrifying experience at the hands of the British in the 1970’s.

    http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/c/conroy-unspeakable.html

    However:

    —“When the case came before the European court of human rights in 1977, the court ruled that although Britain had breached article 3 of the European Human Rights Convention, and must pay the men compensation, it had not actually “tortured” them. The five techniques of wall-standing, hooding, noise, sleep deprivation and reduced diet, it ruled, amounted to “inhuman and degrading treatment”, not torture.”

    —“What at the time seemed like a partial victory for the defense of individual human life and dignity now looks like a defeat. For it is exactly that distinction the European Court made 30 years ago that the White House has used as a precedent to claim that the US government may inflict pain and suffering on any foreigner it suspects of doing something it doesn’t like. The European Court ruling was cited not only by Bybee but by Diane Beaver, a US military lawyer based at Guantánamo, when she gave a formal written opinion in 2002 that the water-boarding technique didn’t constitute torture.”

    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/02/17/17223781.php

    So, what’s my point? One of your premises was that the torture treaty “forces those who are bound to that law to stay away from coming close to violating that law, as it has worked for the Geneva Conventions over the past sixty years.” You went on to state that “With numerous examples of the GC being applied in cases, there has never been a question about the specifics, because it was generally accepted that if you move in the direction of abuse, you violate the law.” WRONG!!!

    I’m sure you are every bit as outraged as I am about the mistreatment of Jim Auld. But what is made so undisputedly clear by this example is that your theory about the Geneva Convention’s definition of torture having worked so well for so long is false. Else why the distinction by the European Human Rights Court? Obviously Court recognized a distinction between inhumane treatment and torture that you do not recognize. They either “don’t know it when they see it” or it simply is defined differently than you think it is.

    As for Mr. Bybee or Judge Bybee as he is now, he simply did legal analysis and used the European Court as precedent, which is what lawyers are supposed to do. The administration appears to have disavowed the memo on “other” grounds—not his citation of the Auld case or his legal definition of torture. The Yale professor’s main gripe had to do with the constitutional analysis of the President’s inherent “commander in chief” powers trumping the other branches. And that is why the administration referred to the memo as being “overbroad,” and it is the reason for the disavowal. I think the administration did the right thing in disavowing it, but that does not reflect on the good background research that was done on the meaning of the torture statute.

    Also keep in mind, he was apparently asked to work from the perspective of the defense and not to address topics that were being looked into by other attorneys. This is very common (After all, who cares what a Mormon is going to say about the moral ramifications—Mormons are not even considered mainstream Christians. So it is likely they had the moral issues addressed by an evangelical attorney or at least a non-Mormon).

    So your condemnation of Mr. Bybee for simply doing what all lawyers are supposed to do—is misplaced. He was asked to say what the law is and how the defense could use it: He was not asked what the law should be. People often get upset when lawyers write memos because these people do not understand the division of power between the branches of government and their respective roles.

    If you don’t like how the European Human Rights Court defined torture, you can lobby your Congressmen to amend our torture statutes to prohibit the kind of conduct that you find reprehensible (or evil as you put it). It won’t change the European court, but it will change ours and the influence could then be felt through “precedent.”

    And one last point for now: Just because I am defending Judge Bybee’s role in this process does not mean I am adopting the position found in his memo. I said: “It seems very well put together so far. It gives great background on the law and treaty. If you have something written that takes the other side to this legal analysis, I would be willing to read it too.” That certainly does not sound like a closed mind or that I have adopted his analysis. You get worked up too easy!

    And instead of piling tons of reading from law professors and others who simply offer their opinion about Mr. Bybee or his lack of thoroughness, etc., etc.; try to do what I asked. Give me a link to someone who went through the trouble of doing an actual legal analysis of the law from a different perspective. That is what I offered to read. Maybe you did send me the link, but if you did, you buried it in these second-hand opinions from wanabes. I don’t really care much for 2nd hand opinions—they are not binding authority even when they are from Yale. Judges say what the law is while these other people are saying what it should be.

    I need cases that interpret the law thereby providing precedent, and a legal analysis like Mr. Bybee’s cites me straight to the record. That’s why it is so helpful. So instead of finding people that through tomatoes at Mr. Bybee, find someone who actually went through the effort to cite cases—precedent. Our argument is whether the law needs to be changed so as to define torture. For either of us to be convincing, we must first know what the current status of the law is—what is legal and what is not. Then we can look at opinions about what it should be.

    For now, it appears that the legally accepted definition of torture when applying the GC allows the practice that was used against Jim Auld. I’ll address other points later.

    Since you have just posted I’ll say a few more words: it is hardly moving the goalpost (as you put it) to speak of 9/11 in one breath and to equate it to 5 years in another. Last I checked 9/11 happened about 5 years ago. You are way too picky over non-essential points.

    The other point you made: “Does this mean that 9/11 would have been foiled if we had tortured people beforehand? We’ll never know. We can only speculate from our armchair quarterbacking spots.”

    That’s right! That was one of the main points of my last post! I’m glad you finally got it.

  57. WRONG!!!

    A little childish are we?

    So let me get this straight, you give me an example (that Mr. Bybee also used) from before the creation of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (which by the way is the Law of the Land here in America, as it was ratified by the Senate), which specifically prohibits “cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment” as described in the Jim Auld case. It seems the precedent has been changed, and the UNCAT has more authority, and as such, anything that Mr. Bybee attempts to justify using older material is moot. Let’s read the two relevant articles of the UNCAT:

    Article 1

    1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
    2. This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.

    Article 16

    1. Each State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture as defined in article 1, when such acts are committed by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. In particular, the obligations contained in articles 10, 11, 12 and 13 shall apply with the substitution for references to torture or references to other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    2. The provisions of this Convention are without prejudice to the provisions of any other international instrument or national law which prohibit cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or which relate to extradition or expulsion.

    You know for a would-be lawyer, it might not be good for you to so easily dismiss the words of a noted Yale lawyer. Unless really the world of lawyers these days is full of very disrespectful individuals. You may not agree with Mr. Balkin’s views, but be respectful of his knowledge.

    And yes, I did provide you with legal analysis of the memos from the right perspective. You chose not to look at them (at least not yet). So let me direct you right to them:

    Understanding the OLC torture memos Part 1

    Understanding the OLC Torture memos part 2

    Understanding the OLC torture memos part 3

    Understanding the OLC torture memos coda

    For now, it appears that the legally accepted definition of torture when applying the GC allows the practice that was used against Jim Auld. I’ll address other points later.

    No it doesn’t. The UNCAT prohibits such actions, and it came AFTER Jim Auld’s treatment.

    So try again, Eric. And please be more respectful, or I won’t continue discussing and let you just type away all by your lonesome.

    Oh three more links for you.

    Michael Dorf on the torture memos

    torture and the ticking time bomb

    and finally, Top ten reasons why Bush wants to limit the war crimes act and the Geneva conventions

    10. You see, I’m a war crimes President!
    9. I’m hoping to try some “alternative sets of procedures” on Nancy Pelosi.
    8. I need to keep Dick Cheney busy!
    7. Americans are sick and tired of us outsourcing our torture jobs to other countries.
    6. It’ll come in real handy when we invade Iran.
    5. Com’on, they use waterboards in Southern California, right?
    4. A lot of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are really into S & M.
    3. Did you know they speak French in Geneva?
    2. John McCain, Colin Powell and Former head of Joint Chiefs of Staff John Vessey are just not serious about protecting the American people.
    1. Too many people think my Presidency is an “outrage upon personal dignity.”

    😉

  58. Speaking of Torture….This thread WOULD constitute it.

    Oh my effin eyes!


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