White House Choreographed Torture Sessions

ABC has a bombshell tonight about how Cheney and other top Bush administration officials would sit around in the White House and decide exactly how Muslim detainees would be tortured.

ABC noted: “The high-level discussions about these ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed — down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.”

Sitting around a table and deciding how many times each Muslim detainee can be whacked up side the head sounds like the ultimate NeoCon masturbatory fantasy.

Even prize-Constitution stomper John Ashcroft had qualms about the meetings, reportedly warning, “History will not judge this kindly.”

What does it take to get someone indicted for war crimes in this country any more?

  • Eugene Costa

    “What does it take to get someone indicted for war crimes in this country any more?

    Good question for Mr. Paul, who initially opposed Kucinich’s impeachment motion, and now is talking about a “proper procedure” which he specifically said did not exist when he was in the process of agreeing to impeach Clinton.

    The Constitution is very simple on the matter of impeachment, Mr. Paul, as you once seemed to know.

    Perhaps you should review it carefully and be a bit more forward in joining the efforts of Kucinich, Wexler, and others to impeach Cheney.

    And bringing in Pelosi or Conyers constitutes no defense of your own seeming lack of principle on the subject.

    Pelosi should have been removed the moment she said impeachment was “not on the table.”

    I will leave Conyers’ case for another day.

    • Alfred Koppel

      Thank you Eugene Costa,

      And as torture is against our U.S. Federal and State laws and against the laws of the International Criminal Court it is good time to get the impeachments back on the table to weed these gremlins out of the gobs of malfeasance which we Americans once called U.S. governments, and that endeavored so that we, the people, can have our U.S.judges prosecute them to the fullest extent of our American Justice!

      And since their U.S. tax dollar payrolls are unearned, by U.S. law these have to be repaid back to the Americans which they were stolen from!

      And as these terrorists at the White House and their collaborating miscreants still sheltered under our congressional roofs endorsed the destruction of our American Constitution to demolish U.S. Federal and State governments and their first priority, paid our U.S. tax dollars to protect Americans, our American families and properties from those who mean to do us harm, and since to over-throw, misrepresent or ruin these U.S. Bodies of Law is a ‘Terrorist Act’ that can not be shielded by Executive Privileges, the penalty is death, the confiscation of all their properties and financial accounts as mandated by the very Federal and State laws which they mean to demolish, and under a ‘Declared war on Terrorists’ presently waged in this united States of Americans, these punishments are exacted without recourse, or our republic is destroyed into a Third World Hovel. -Al Koppel.

  • Styve

    Now…let’s match the dates of those deliberative sessions with the dates that Gannon-Guckert was seen in the White House, sometimes wearing military fatigues, and let the heads roll.

  • RDNZL

    I’ll tell you exactly what it takes to get someone indicted for war crimes in this country these days:

    A real opposition party.

    As it stands, the Democans and Republicrats have a gentleman’s agreement to cover each other’s posteriors in the face of prosecutions that might effect limits on the executive branch’s power in the 21st century.

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  • Eugene Costa

    “Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.”

    John Ashcroft

    He was in favor of the torture, but he didn’t want himself or others at the senior level involved.

  • Piers

    It’s a safe bet they also sat around and decided exactly which subordinates would be scapegoated in the event of leaks.

  • In a just world a lot of our leaders would end up like some at Nurenburg,at the end of a rope.

  • Paul Nofs

    I would allow for jailing in an orange jumpsuit as sentence by due process but I would not respond with death or even torture.

    In fact we already have a law that covers this both for the prosecution and for the defense.

    Amendment VIII
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, NOR cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    Their will always be tyrants, yet we must follow our laws. The world too often says that it cannot be done. Are we free enough to do it, to defend even our own Constitution?

  • Skulz Fontaine

    War crimes tribunals! Let the call ring out across America! It is so the right time for accountability! Hold the candidates up for questions. Hard questions. Hold Ms. Prissy Pelosi to account for abrogating her constitutional duty to the American people. ‘WE THE PEOPLE’ that do the work and sacrifice our children and pay the taxes!
    WAR CRIMES TRIBUNALS!

  • Tom White

    We’ve got lily-livered government, except that they sure as hell know how to count the money they get for their betrayals. This country is lost indeed unless we can figure out how to get the money system away from the bankers. I agree with the American Monetary Institute (AMI) that money should be issued interest-free by the government. It couldn’t, at its imagined worst, be half as bad as what we get now from the proud, splendid, fat thieves on Wall Street and at the Fed.

  • What does it take to get someone indicted for war crimes in this country any more?

    For starters, a government that is genuinely “by the People, of the People, and for the People”, something that this country has not had for a long time, if ever at all. To bring such a government into existence would ultimately require an armed uprising on the part of a significant number of the People and the proverbial watering of the tree of liberty with the “blood of patriots”, that Jefferson so poetically described. Since there is about as much chance of that happening as there is of Bill Clinton becoming a Trappist Monk, I don’t think we’ll see anything other than war criminals further solidifying and expanding their control of the machinery of state.

  • SanFernandoCurt

    Since torture became trendy about a dozen years ago, all its gleeful fans – from Dershowitz to the writers of “24” – have been so passionate in their advocacy they seem to betray a deep affinity for human torment, not just to retrieve the blueprints of nefarious schemes, but for its own sake; they really LIKE the idea of pouring molten lead in someone’s ass.

    Also, the relentless photo/video documentation of the abuses at Abu Ghraib indicates some calculation at work, more than wreaking deep psychological harm for unfortunate Iraqis ending up on the wrong end of dog leashes. It’s hard to believe that a snapshot of a suspect without his skivvies is going to break down real, committed terrorists; after all, we’re talking about individuals willing to strap on explosive vests and become walking grenades for their beliefs and causes.

    But these creepy pictures and footage, when released to the world, surely abrased any fondness the much-vaunted “Arab on the street” may have had for America and Americans. The Muslim world’s abstract objections to American policy (Israeli-centric and blind, oil imperialism, etc.) were replaced by up-front hatred for Americans on a personal level.

    And if they hate us, that certainly guarantees we must go on fighting them. …Doesn’t it?

  • Tim R.

    Torture is wrong. It should never be taken lightly. However, there may be times when, as a very last resort, it is necessary if you know that it will save lives. As long as it does not result in permanent injury and it is only used as a very last resort, and we have strong, credible information that the suspect has information that can save lives, it might be justified.

    Everyone is so worried about the rights of the Islamo-Fascists, and that’s fine, everyone should have basic human rights, even wicked people such as these. But what about the rights of decent CIVILIZED human beings to not be butchered by these barbarians? But about the human rights of people like Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg, who had their HEADS CHOPPPED OFF by these evil demons? Where is the outcry for their rights?

    • Weston

      Tim,

      First, human rights aren’t human rights if you can override them every time it’s convenient. Second, it’s a little unclear what bush your rhetorical questions are beating around. Do you mean to say that the human rights of Muslims should be suspended to better protect the rights of non-Muslims? Do you mean we should be more outraged that terrorists would violate human rights than that our own government would? Do you mean that, instead of breaking the news about high-level government officials sanctioning torture, ABC should have run another story about Pearl and Berg? What exactly is your point here? It seems to me that you’re traipsing around in a Bermuda Triangle between racism, contrarianism, and simple non sequitor. Please explain yourself.

      • Tim R.

        Weston, to answer your queries:

        1) Yes, the rights of Muslims may have to be limited in a time of war, since they are the enemy. Article One Section Eight of the United States Constitution even allows for the suspention of the great Writ of Habeas Corpus in a case of invasion and yes, I say we are being invaded.

        2)We should be outraged when anyone violates human rights.

        3)Yes, they should have run another story on ABC about Nick Berg and/or Daniel Pearl getting their heads chopped off while begging for their life, or they ought to have contemporaneously shown clips of the planes hitting the towers on 9/11/01 in order to help people understand just why our government thought that such drastic measures were necessary. Its not like they just woke up one morning and said “Hmmmm….what should we do today? Oh yes. By gosh we have not tortured any Muslims in a while, let us go and round some up.”

        • Weston

          (1) Muslims aren’t the enemy, terrorists are the enemy. Saying that Muslims ARE terrorists would be like saying all Europeans were Nazis.

          (2) I agree. And Muslims have the same human rights you do.

          (3) They’re supposedly torturing people for information, not out of revenge. Showing people horrible footage would be manipulative because it leads them to make decisions based on feelings of anger and fear rather than rational deliberation.

          Please, please don’t tell me you think fear and anger are a better basis for making decisions about whether or not to torture people.

        • Tim R.

          Weston,

          Terrorists are not the enemy. Please hear me out for a second. Terrorism is just a TACTIC, and we can’t be at war with or defeat a tactic. That’s like saying there are too many fat people so we need to have a war on sugar. In war thats like saying we need to defeat tanks, or we need to defeat bullets, instead of saying we need to defeat the enemies that are using those tanks and bullets to acheive their objective. Tanks and bullets are just the methods used to acomplish an objective. In the same way, terrorism is just the prefered tactic being used by radical Muslims. Their stated objective, in their own words, is to ultimatly create a world wide Islamic theocracy under Sharia law. And unless we can come to turns with the fact that we are fighting Muslims, how can we ever win this war? How can we win a war when we are afraid to admit with whom we are fighting? During WWII we new we were fighting the Nazis but we also knew that the Nazi movement was inextricably linked with Germans. We were fighting Germans and we said so. But today, because of all this politically correct pap we have been fed, some of us are afraid to admit who we are fighting.

        • Kenneth

          Their stated objective is the expulsion of the West from the Middle East. The “global Islamic caliphate” nostrum goes beyond mere conjecture; it is pure fantasy. There is not a shred of evidence that this is a serious long-term goal, much less that the isolated and puny Islamist forces have the means to accomplish it.

          During WWII we new we were fighting the Nazis but we also knew that the Nazi movement was inextricably linked with Germans.

          In what way? Does this mean that all Germans could be considered Nazis? That the distinction between civilian and soldier was erased? That Germany itself was a monolith (nonwithstanding Hitler’s need for an extensive apparatus of repression to liquidate his rather powerful internal opposition in the early phase of the dictatorship)? Really, this is too silly for words. It can only be taken to mean that Germans should have been categorized identically, which, aside from being the sort of genetic fallacy one would expect from Nazi propaganda, would have alienated any domestic resistance within Germany and thus a possible source of support. One further thing: since the American government threatens the continued existence of humanity, does this mean, following your reasoning, that we can treat all Americans, yourself included, as a fungible horde of imperialists?

    • Kenneth

      Torture doesn’t work. Period. Anyone in such a state is highly susceptible to suggestion and can be persuaded to “confess” to a crime of which s/he is innocent. Witness the Soviet show trials.

      But what about the rights of decent CIVILIZED human beings to not be butchered by these barbarians?

      As you well know, these fall well within the purview of existing human rights laws- indeed, just laws against murder. The only component of this statement that isn’t entirely vacuous is the implied course of action, but this, of course, has been shown to accomplish the opposite of its stated intent.

      Also, I notice that once again you’ve taken to playing mix and match with political terminology. Islam, even fundamentalist Islam, cannot by any stretch of the term be considered “fascist”, since it is entirely indifferent to the nation-state and lacks elements specific to fascism. Paying attention to semantics will give you greater credence that you would get otherwise. Using terms like “fascism” promiscuously to elicit an emotional response (and thereby cheapening the suffering of your own people) merely degrades your argument.

    • Less Antman

      > However, there may be times when, as a very last resort, it is necessary if you know that it will save lives. As long as it does not result in permanent injury and it is only used as a very last resort, and we have strong, credible information that the suspect has information that can save lives, it might be justified.

      Tim, it is not necessary to create exceptions in the law in advance: simply allow the jury its proper discretion to evaluate the application of the law as well as the facts. In court, the defendant-torturer may present evidence that his act saved millions of lives, and he will surely either be acquitted or receive a penalty of $1 and a round of applause from the courtroom. As long as we don’t have some idiotic mandatory sentencing law, no torturer who has saved a million lives has the slightest reason to fear justice.

      The torture fans won’t accept this solution because they know they don’t just want the power to torture when a time bomb is ticking: they want the power to do it whenever they feel like it.

      By the way, this is one reason that courts of equity and customary law were superior to the maze of legislation and complicated legal procedures that are strangling our “justice” system today. Justice should represent the common sense of fairness of normal human beings, and at one time it did. Customary law forbid murder, but when the facts made it clear that self-defense was involved, the defendant was let off or his penalty made light, with each decision based on the unique facts. Today, of course, a Bush/Cheney lawyer would ask “Is killing ever justified?” and take a yes answer to mean the government could kill anyone at any time by merely asserting this was one of those justified situations without having to prove it to a jury of decent human beings.

  • kucinich courage

    Crimes Against Humanity. Ask your church to speak out for impeachment and war crimes trials. If your church signed over the right to speak on politics for tax break 501 ask them why they sold out the truth for 30 pieces of silver.

    Some churches are foregoing the tax break and speaking out as a moral and ethical force so the US govt. has proposed licensing churches. That is what John Bunyan went to prison for 15 years for and many Baptist preachers also were imprisoned in the US when the Episcopal Church was the state religion. Make sure everyone knows about this attempt to silence preaching the Gospel by requiring churches to obtain a license to preach from the government.

  • Thomas Mc

    This Satanic, War Criminal Administration must be sent to the Hague, to be tried for crimes against humanity, just as the Nazis were after WWII.

    Unfortunately, Obama has already promised to let them all off the hook, in the spirit of “reconciliation.”

    We are witnessing the very end of America.

  • Tim R.

    Thomas Mc says the following: “We are witnessing the very end of America.”

    Yes, maybe you are right.

    Well, when we have politicians that are afraid to put the words Islam/Muslim and terrorism in the same sentence maybe you are correct. When we have people like yourself that are more worried about protecting the rights of murderous Islamic thugs than the innocent people they butcher, maybe your right. When we have multi-culturalists and Islamic apologists who insist that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion and anyone who says otherwise is a racist, maybe your right. When we have people who with an easy and cavalier attitude compare the President of the United States to Adolph Hitler, maybe your right. When we have large segments of blacks like Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Al Sharpton and others, who want to promote anti-white racism in this country, and who get away with it and are cheered on by the liberals, maybe your right. When we have these same racist blacks who scream and yell about “white elites” but don’t say a damn thing about the fact that 1/3rd of young black men in America are in jail, 2/3 of young black women have kids out of wedlock, and almost 1/2 of young black women have a sexually transmitted disease, maybe your right. When we keep letting more Muslims enter the country because we can’t be accussed of “racial profiling” maybe your right. When Islam has overtaken the Roman Catholic Church as having the largest following in the world, and no one seems to care, maybe your right. When we are literally being invaded by hordes of millions and millions of illegal immigrants (80% of whom come from Mexico and Central America) and the multi-cultural lunatics tell us we should not do anything about it, maybe your right. When people come here and don’t speak English and we are no longer unified by a common language, maybe your right. When we have people who move here but don’t even think of themselves as American, or worse they are Anti-American, maybe your right.

    Maybe your right. But I sure hope your wrong. And I still think America has a chance to get back on the right path.

    And by the way, the same problems happening here are happening in Europe too. These idiots want to commit national suicide. The population of France is now almost 10 percent Muslim. In all the European countries, who fills the jails? MUSLIMS? Go and look at the statistics for yourself, don’t take my word for it. Who commits most of the violent crimes? Muslims. And in America? Our jails are filled with illegal immigrants, most of whom are from Mexico and Central America and we are suppossed to pretend that they are just as civilized as we are and we are suppossed to welcome them in. In his ridiculous book, “The Audacity of Hope” Obamba says that he knows our nation is getting more “polyglot” to use his term and that his daughters will have to speak Spanish but he does not even care. This guy is associated with a filthy racist Pastor and no one even cares. The pastor is a supporter of Louis Farakhan and no one seems to care.

    When the hell is America going to wake up? I know some of the folks on this list disagree with me but I think some of our disagreements are in good faith and there are some on here who really love this country and don’t want to see it go down the drain. I just hope we can get this great nation of ours back on the right path before its too late.

    • Weston

      The vast majority of Muslims are not violent people, let alone terrorists. The dysfunction in the black community is more complex than you seem to appreciate. No one cares about the relative populations of Catholics and Muslims because those populations don’t correlate in any meaningful way with anything anyone should care about. People who move here and find that their differences are unacceptable to some Americans have good reason not to think of themselves as American. You can’t freeze culture, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with Spanish or with the next generation being bilingual. No one cares about Farakhan because he’s two layers removed from Obama. And so on and so forth.

      P.S. “You’re” right, not “your” right.

      • Tim R.

        Weston,

        You strike me as a thoughtful person so I’d like to understand you better. You say that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, let’s say you are correct on that. But if there are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and only 5% of them have propensities for fanatical religious extremism and terrorism, that means we have 60 million potential Al Quida terrorists out there. As you may no, a very small percentage of a very large number, is itself a large number. You don’t think this is something to worry about?

        As to the black community, yes, the issues are complex and I’m not even saying its all their fault but certainly they share some of the blame, yet no one talks about that.

        As to you not worrying about the spread of Islam and it having more members than the Catholic Church? Well, I don’t know about you but I say God help us if Islam becomes the dominate religion on this planet.

        On bi lingualsim, you really lost me there. How can a nation thrive without a common language and culture? In Quebec, they want to separate from the rest of Canada. Why? Because they want to speak French and have French culture. In the Basque area of Spain, they too have a different language and their separtist movement has become violent and even resorted to terrorism. Please read Federalist Paper Number 2 in which John Jay remarks about the importance of a common langugage and culture. Also, check out what President Theodore Roosevelt had to say on this issue,ie “There is room for only one language in this country, the English language.”

        And to your Obama point? He is only two steps removed from Farakhan and his Pastor, with whom he is very close, is a big Farakhan supporter. Farakhan has, among other things, called the Pope a “no good cracker” and said that white men are “not fully evolved” and the “skunk of the earth” and that Judaism is a “gutter religion.” My grandmother, a wise woman, has a saying, “Show me who your friends are, and I will show you who you are.”

        PS: And thanks for correcting my punctuation I sometimes have a lot to say and in my rush to say it I am not always as careful with punctuation as I should be.

        • Weston

          Oh my effing God, we’re back to percentages again? Weeks ago you were pushing the same crap, and I gave you a thought experiment to ponder, and apparently you didn’t. Tell me, one what grounds to you estimate the percentage of Muslims who are terrorists at 5%?

          Here’s a summary of the last time I destroyed this argument. Suppose there are 10,000 acts of terrorism committed every year (that’s roughly 27 per day). Now suppose that only 1% of all Muslims are terrorists–that’s 12 million terrorists. That means that there are 1,200 different Muslims planning and executing each individual act of terrorism.

          You know what’s implausible? That there are 10,000 acts of terrorism every year. The real number is much lower. You know what else is implausible? That there are 1,200 different Muslim terrorists working on every act of terrorism (none of them work on multiple attacks). Again, the real number is much lower. You know what that means? It means that your estimate of 5% is five times higher than a ridiculously, insanely high estimate of the number of Muslims who are terrorists (1%).

          Let’s do another thought experiment. Suppose what is more likely, that an average of 10 Muslim terrorists are involved in every act of terrorism. I’ll be generous and let you keep the 10,000 acts per year figure, even though it’s still too high. That means there are 100,000 Muslim terrorists out of a population of 1.2 billion. You know what those numbers would mean? They’d mean that the percentage of Muslims who are terrorists is somewhere on the order of 0.00008%. And that’s still ridiculously inflated because of the artificially beefed up “acts of terror” statistic, which means the real numbers and percentages are even lower.

          Do I think terrorism is something to worry about? Sure. Do I think Muslims are something to worry about? Only a lot fewer than one in every twelve thousand. Which is to say, generally, no.

          Here’s the point: stop conflating Islam with terrorism. Stop saying Muslims are violent. Stop saying Muslims are the enemy. I’m not saying you’re a racist. I’m saying only a racist could look at those numbers and conclude that an entire ethnic group is worth of suspicion because a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the group participates in terrorism.

        • Tim R.

          I’m not a racist, I’m a realist. I follow statistics. You, on the other hand seem unwilling to believe certain things, no matter what the facts may say. That is an emotional response. You have a certain worldview and if the facts contradict it, well, to hell with the facts. With all due respect my friend, that is not a logical way to go about things.

          By the way, I never said that 5% of Muslims were terrorists, please re-read what I wrote. Words are important. I said that we could say at least 5% ( and I do think the number is A LOT higher) have violent propensities, that they sympathize with terrorist and are, therefore, POTENTIAL terrorists. Where do I get my number from? Check out the Pew Global Attitudes Research Survey. Pew is a very reputable organization, the study was co-chaired by Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright. It shows that substantical percentages of Muslims, sometimes even over 50%, I repeat sometimes over 50%, hold Bin Laden in high regard and believe that suicide bombings against civilians are justified.

          I am just following the facts and I urge you to look into them for yourself.

        • Kenneth

          This statistic is meaningless. It tells us neither the reasons behind these attitudes and the actual incidence of terrorism. Your inference, such as it is, is a speculative leap supported by a non-indicator. One cannot fail to notice that you’ve refrained from any kind of direct statistical argument. I notice as well that you haven’t proven the supposed objectives or motives of the Islamists. Am I to take this as an admission of defeat.

          You have a certain worldview and if the facts contradict it, well, to hell with the facts. With all due respect my friend, that is not a logical way to go about things.

          Lawl. The projection is unmistakable in light of your racist hysterics and tenuous argumentation. But authoritarian personalities are invariably blind to themselves, and yours is no exception. It’s comforting, though, to know that after many months of trolling you have nothing save empty sensationalism and non-sequiturs with which to make your case. If nothing else, you inspire a profound sense of self-validation…in me, that is.

        • Weston

          Your view becomes more nuanced but no less absurd. You’re still advocating, or at the very least insinuating, that we should suspend the rights of Muslims on the grounds that an opinion poll reveals that a small percentage of them sympathize with terrorists. That word “potential” is doing a lot of work for you–but an enormous number of potential terrorists do not become actual terrorists; otherwise we really would have terrorists in the numbers I was lampooning above. What you need to show is that sympathizing with terrorists is an indicator that one is likely to become a terrorist, and that’s just not very realistic.

          Similarly for “sympathize.” Believing that suicide bombings are justified and actually carrying them out are two very different things. The same is true with holding people in high regard on the one hand, and being a devotee on the other. You’re far too quick to draw drastic conclusions from data that do not support them. It’s like you see that many Muslims dislike America and American policies, and you instantly infer that they’re combatants, or as you say “potential” combatants in an imaginary global war of epic proportions.

          And by the way, I’m happy to continue debating with you, but you can stop with the “I’m just being reasonable and following the facts and you’re ignoring them and arguing from ideology” rhetoric. Not only have you not presented anything in the ballpark of relevant empirical evidence for your more outlandish claims, but you don’t have a corner on rational argument either. I recognize the temptation is to pretend that your view is so obvious that anyone who doesn’t share it is either blind or an idiot–I’m wrestling with some of that myself in this conversation–but don’t make baseless accusations (or unwarranted assumptions, for that matter) about my worldview and respect for the facts.

          So, let me boil it down: (1) even if it were true, which it isn’t, that sympathy with suicide bombers and bin Laden makes one a “potential” terrorist, and (2) even if it were true, which it isn’t, that being a potential terrorist made it likely that one would become an actual terrorist, and (3) even if it were true, which it isn’t, that 5% of Muslims were potential terrorists, then (4) it still wouldn’t be true that Muslims, as a group, are the enemy. If you want the facts on your side you’re going to need to do a lot more than mention a Pew survey that doesn’t even support the premise you seem to think it does (3).

        • Weston

          I simply don’t agree that a single homogeneous culture or language is necessary for a functioning political community. With all due respect to Jay and Roosevelt, it is one thing to claim that homogeneity is important in various respects, and quite another to claim that its value should trump all others. India is just one example of how diverse cultures can cooperate to form a single national entity.

          Even if it were a sound principle (and again, it isn’t) your grandmother’s folksy wisdom still wouldn’t apply to the Obama-Farakhan “connection,” since it only applies to one’s own friends, and not the friends of one’s friends. But even setting aside the matter of transitivity, it’s not even clear how you can infer much about me from my first layer of friends. Although we share some similarities, we disagree on many and various matters of importance. Some of my friends are communists, some of my friends are socialists, and some of my friends are religious, conservative Republicans. Is your grandmother claiming that I hold all of those views simultaneously? Not if she isn’t an idiot.

        • Tim R.

          Ok, let me try this. Forget the Pew Research Study and the fact that a substantial number of Muslims are sympathetic to terrorsim. You say Muslims are not the enemy. Ok, fine. Then please tell me, just who is the enemy? I have done a great deal of research on this subject and if you look at the number of terrorist attacks in the last 30 or so years, the vast and overwhelming majority of them have been committed by Muslims. Of the people that attacked us on 9/11/01, how what percentage were Muslim? 100%! Of the people that bombed the London subway and bus system, what percentage were Muslim? 100%! Of the people that bombed the transit system in Madrid in 2004, what percentage were Muslim? 100%! Of the people that took over a school in Beslan, Russia and killed over 330 people, including over a 150 innocent little children, what percentage were Muslim? 100%! Of the people that had Daniel Pearl and Nick Berg beg for their life before chopping their heads off on video, what percentage of them were Muslim? 100%

          And so on and so forth. These are just a few examples. I could cite you hundreds, yes, I repeat, literally, HUNDREDS of such examples of Muslim fanatics committing acts of terrorism. But you say, Muslims are not the enemy. Then just who is the enemy? The fact of the matter is, you are right, most Muslims are not terrorists. But the fact of the matter is also that most terrorists are, indeed, Muslim. So just who is the enemy if not Muslims? And by the way, when good and decent Muslims fail to speak out against the radicals they are indirectly responsible and share the blame. The Tibeten people are terribly oppressed by the Chinease Communist Party but I don’t see them resorting to terrorism. That’s because they do not follow a radical Islamic theology that promotes a robust and unwavering blood lust. I guess you will tell me it is just a tiny, tiny fraction of Muslims that are “misguided criminals.” Oh, heaven help us. This sort of well meaning but naieve attitude is just what we don’t need. It is an attitude of defeat and appeasement. It is an attitude that says, if a lion wants read meat, give the lion plenty of red meat, and eventually he will become a vegetarian!

        • Kenneth

          The overrepresentation of Muslims in acts of non-state terrorism are an artefact of American foreign policy. See, for example, Robert Pape’s study.

          The Tibeten people are terribly oppressed by the Chinease Communist Party but I don’t see them resorting to terrorism.

          So are the Uighur Muslims, but oddly enough, they haven’t produced any suicide bombers.

        • Weston

          The fact of the matter is, you are right, most Muslims are not terrorists. But the fact of the matter is also that most terrorists are, indeed, Muslim. So just who is the enemy if not Muslims?

          Most terrorists are also men. So who is the enemy if it is not men?

          Forget memorizing examples of Muslim terrorism. You need to learn some basic logic: “All terrorists are the enemy, and all terrorists are Muslim, therefore all Muslims are the enemy” is not a valid syllogism.

        • Weston

          And also: confirmation bias much?

    • Kenneth

      Tim,

      Your capacity for ignoring others’ arguments never ceases to amaze me. You have, in the course of a several hundred word post, managed to evade every contention made my Weston, Less Antman, and my bad self and reiterate your usual guff. Your latest diatribe reveals a persecution complex of immense proportions and a petulant temperament, as it is composed entirely of attacks on a purely notional discursive regimen peppered with unmistakable elements of projection. Since your manifold psychological deformities seem to have put you in some confusion, I shall clearly and simply repeat my prior points and queries and hopefully ameliorate this state of perpetual perplexion.

      When we have people like yourself that are more worried about protecting the rights of murderous Islamic thugs…

      In what way does concern for due process mirror an excess of concern for the rights of “Islamic thugs”? Unless you presume that all Muslims are guilty until proven innocent, an epistemically as well as morally dubious premise, you cannot with any degree of factual support argue that we overvalue the rights of “Islamic thugs”.

      When we have multi-culturalists and Islamic apologists who insist that Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion and anyone who says otherwise is a racist, maybe your right.

      No one is arguing that Islam is solely peaceful and tolerant. Like any other religion, it is socially polyvalent. At various points in its history, it has been violent and intolerant, just like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Taoism. Al-Qaeda’s guiding ideology is evidence enough of this. But you go beyond that. You insist that Islam is solely violent and intolerant, that all Muslims are terrorists or abetters thereof, and that anyone who disagrees with this essentialising and dehumanizing thesis is some variety of lily-livered multiculturalist. Your use of the generic “Islamic” appellation, rather than “Islamist” or even “Islamofascist” alongside “thugs” (presumably intended as a more evocative term for “terrorist”) is evidence enough of this. Furthermore, you assert, against all available evidence, that Islamist terror is purely a theological psychosis without any sort of internal processes, structure, or logic. You attach no moral consequence to the destruction of Muslims, a fact revealed by your use of diversions (such as attacks on Jews or Americans or what have you) whenever the topic comes up.

      And by the way, the same problems happening here are happening in Europe too. These idiots want to commit national suicide. The population of France is now almost 10 percent Muslim. In all the European countries, who fills the jails? MUSLIMS? Go and look at the statistics for yourself, don’t take my word for it. Who commits most of the violent crimes? Muslims.

      It couldn’t possibly be related to decades of marginalization and discrimination by the French state, could it? Nah, it must be indicative of their intrinsic religious propensities. Following your chain of logic, we can now conclude that blacks’ overrepresentation in American prisons reflects an abnormal biological inclination toward aggression, that Asians’ overrepresentation in the higher income brackets reflects racial superiority, and that Jews’ historic overrepresentation in organized crime is not due to their occlusion from legitimate pursuits but a natural tendency toward criminality. Please Tim, for once, just once, cut the post hoc reasoning.

      In his ridiculous book, “The Audacity of Hope” Obamba says that he knows our nation is getting more “polyglot” to use his term and that his daughters will have to speak Spanish but he does not even care. This guy is associated with a filthy racist Pastor and no one even cares. The pastor is a supporter of Louis Farakhan and no one seems to care.

      Rev. Wright isn’t a racist. Obama is a degree removed from Farrakhan, and so this highly indirect link provides no indication of Obama’s true sympathies. The first didn’t suffer from any lack of negative attention from the press. McCain’s spiritual lodestone, Rod Parsley, by contrast, a bigot who believes Christianity should be a state-enforced religion and that the US was founded specifically to destroy Islam, has flown entirely under the radar.

      In all, I do not overstate my case when I say that your bilge is chillingly redolent of Nazi propaganda. The overtones of racial and cultural purity, the obsession with national unity, the belief that certain groups are inherently bad and corrupting, the paranoid attitude and exaggerated sense of helplessness toward said groups, and the acceptance of violence as an acceptable means to one’s preferred are unmistakably Hitleresque. They also recall the phantasmagoric “yellow peril” of ages past. Perhaps this comparison is a bit much, but given your rhetorical proclivities I think it’s time you were given a taste of your own medicine.

      • Tim R.

        Kenneth,

        You seem to really enjoy psycho analysis, thank you for bring my ” manifold psychological deformities” to my attention. Maybe you should go into the mental health field. By the way, in the old days in the Soviet Union, if someone disagreed with the policies of the government, often times they were locked up in a mental institution and labeled as having some form of schizophrenia. Listen my impetuous young lad, just because we disagree on things is no reason to personally attack each other.

        • Kenneth

          Irony continues to elude you, I see. In the old Soviet Union, those who questioned the morality of Soviet foreign and domestic policy were labeled “anti-Soviet” and demonized accordingly. The discursive isomorphism will be apparent to anyone capable of casual observation. Apart from the “anti-American” epithet, your heated attacks on the perceived “political correctness” of your opponents fit this mould.

          Maybe you should go into the mental health field.

          I was thinking more along the lines of blue collar work.

          Listen my impetuous young lad, just because we disagree on things is no reason to personally attack each other.

          This isn’t mere disagreement. You display many of the classic symptoms of an authoritarian personality. Lacking any sort of capacity for reflection, I doubt you’re aware of this, so I thought I’d helpfully highlight it. If you can suspend your dogmatism long enough, you might fight “The Authoritarians” by Bob Altemeyer quite edifying: http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

        • Eric

          I wish to add a few considerations to this thread.

          First torture does not work as shown by numerous studies; Stalin’s show trials are a good example of how those who are tortured will say what they believe their torturers want to hear.

          Second, Christianity and Islam both have adherents who have perverted each religion in order to amass power. Look at the totalitarian aspects of Medieval Europe with the Inquisition, the Albigensian Crusade, the Crusades in the Middle East (read Edward Gibbons account of the Crusades in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (the portion covering the successor states to the Western Empire while the Eastern Empire still survived). Even today, the US has Reverends John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Pat Robertson, and others who have promoted hateful ideas and fantasies. Islam has its own problems with such people. But before you start addressing the problems with other societies, deal with you own society’s problems first.

          Third, the idea that only those societies dominated by one language can be coherent, peaceful, and successful is demonstrably false, because Switzerland can be provided as a counter example. Switzerland has been de facto independent for over 800 years, and has three official languages German, French, and Italian, plus a fourth, Rhaeto-Romansch) spoken and published in the country. The Swiss system works very well, and Switzerland has never been an imperial power.

          Fourth, as Robert Pape pointed out in his book Dying to Win, the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, the Tamil Tigers (from the island country of Sri Lanka) is the single group that has used suicide terrorism the most. The American media do not report from that area of the world very well, which is probably why you are unaware of this.

          Fifth, any terrorist act requires the motivation, the means, and the implementation to commit the act. Those in whom all three converge are the ones who are a true threat. At this point, only al Qaeda has an active program against the United States. Attacking other countries that have neither attacked the United States nor have the realistic means of doing so adds nothing to the overall security of the United States.

          Sixth, our government has shown gross incompetence in handling those groups that did come here. The most egregious example of this is the career of Ali Mohammed, as documented in the book Triple Cross, by Peter Lance. In quick summary, Ali Mohammed operated as an al-Qaeda mole, trained the World Trade bombers (in 1992-1993), cased the US embassy in Nairobi for the bombing attack, and numerous other activities while simultaneously an FBI informant, CIA asset, and a US Army Staff Sargeant from 1983 through 1998 (when arrested). No one in any of these US government organizations caught onto the clues he left of what he was really doing. This is the same kind of cluelessness that allowed Aldrich Ames, Jonathan Pollard, and others to continue their activities for years. The FBI covered up a great deal to protect their agency’s reputation. This kind of gross incompetince and negligence continues and does absolutely nothing to protect the country.

  • Eugene Costa

    (1) Torture is wrong

    (2) It should never be taken lightly

    (3) However, when….(fill in the blank)

    Jesus, even the Jesuit casuists did better than that.

  • Eugene Costa

    The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy, which was marked by the severity of questioning and punishment and lack of rights afforded to the accused.

    While many people associate the Inquisition with Spain and Portugal, it was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in Rome. A later pope, Pope Gregory IX established the Inquisition, in 1233, to combat the heresy of the Abilgenses, a religious sect in France. By 1255, the Inquisition was in full gear throughout Central and Western Europe; although it was never instituted in England or Scandinavia.

    Initially a tribunal would open at a location and an edict of grace would be published calling upon those who are conscious of heresy to confess; after a period of grace, the tribunal officers could make accusations. Those accused of heresy were sentenced at an auto de fe, Act of Faith. Clergyman would sit at the proceedings and would deliver the punishments. Punishments included confinement to dungeons, physical abuse and torture. Those who reconciled with the church were still punished and many had their property confiscated, as well as were banished from public life. Those who never confessed were burned at the stake without strangulation; those who did confess were strangled first. During the 16th and 17th centuries, attendance at auto de fe reached as high as the attendance at bullfights.

    In the beginning, the Inquisition dealt only with Christian heretics and did not interfere with the affairs of Jews. However, disputes about Maimonides’ books (which addressed the synthesis of Judaism and other cultures) provided a pretext for harassing Jews and, in 1242, the Inquisition condemned the Talmud and burned thousands of volumes. In 1288, the first mass burning of Jews on the stake took place in France.

    In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name. Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain. In 1483 Tomas de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain, he set tribunals in many cities. Also heading the Inquisition in Spain were two Dominican monks, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.

    Jewish Virtual Library.Org

    “Torture is wrong. It should never be taken lightly. However….”

  • Eugene Costa

    What’s next, the Neo-Cons and the Likudites arguing away the Inquisition to win the Roman Catholic vote.

    Only in America, hehe.

  • Eugene Costa

    Motivational Manager Waterboarded Employee to Spur Sales, Suit Alleges

    [Dingel wired.com February 12, 2008]A manager at a motivational coaching firm in Utah waterboarded an employee with assistance from co-workers and then told employees he wanted them to work as hard at selling as the waterboarded employee did at breathing, according to allegations in a civil lawsuit filed in Utah state court in January.

    Former Prosper, Inc employee Chad Hudgens alleges he was waterboarded last spring and is suing the firm and his former manager for unspecified damages. Hudgens alleges that the waterboarding damaged him physically and emotionally and that the company’s human resources department ignored his immediate complaint.

    Utah-based Prosper, Inc provides “executive-level coaching for individuals,” which includes “the education and hands-on experiences they need to achieve their personal and professional goals.”

    The story also appeared prominently in the Washington Post.

    This is a little too pat and timely, and so very convenient for those who wish to argue that “waterboarding” is not torture that it is hard to avoid a suspicion at least, that the story is either (1) invented out of whole cloth (for the press coverage) or (2) part of a rigged scenario (toward the same purpose).

    If either of these cases, and that is a strong conditional, some important information may be gleaned.

    Utah, eh?

  • Eugene Costa

    PROVO [Meyers SLT March 16, 2008] – Prosper Inc.’s legal problems have hit the national media and have been analyzed and mocked by bloggers.

    Just typing the words “Prosper Inc.” and “waterboarding” into Google’s search engine generates 2,310 hits.

    But Dave Ellis, president of the financial-coaching company based in this central Utah County community, said the unwanted publicity from the lawsuit filed by the former employee, Chad Hudgens, hasn’t really hurt business.

    Hudgens alleges that, during a company motivational exercise, an executive poured water over his face while colleagues held him down.

    Said Ellis: “We agree a training meeting took place, but the witness accounts vary from the claims that Mr. Hudgens has made. As soon as we found out about it, we hired a labor-relations specialist who interviewed everyone involved.

    “People understand that our business does not condone or endorse any kind of training that causes discomfort. We’ve had some inquiries, but as we have explained, it is not condoned.”
    He dismissed news accounts of the incident ”as media sensationalism.”

    Hudgens, in court papers, said the incident left him physically and emotionally traumatized. He’s suing the company and the supervisor, Joshua Christopherson, for assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination and intentional interference with contractual relations….

    Hudgens alleges in the suit that Christopherson sought a volunteer for a motivational exercise last May 29. The court documents say Hudgens volunteered to demonstrate his loyalty. Christopherson then marched his sales group out to a hill next to the company’s Riverbottoms headquarters and had Hudgens lie down, with his head downhill. While co-workers held the worker down, Christopherson poured water over Hudgens’ mouth and nose, making it difficult for him to breathe.

    The point of the lesson, according to the lawsuit, was that the sales team needed to work as hard to sell as Hudgens did to breathe while being doused.

    The episode appears similar to the controversial torture method the Bush administration has used to interrogate terror suspects. In waterboarding, the victim is restrained in an inclined position and water is poured over the face, creating the sensation of drowning.

    Ellis said Christopherson was suspended for two weeks during the investigation and was brought back after it was concluded. Ellis said Christopherson’s unauthorized training activity was based on the legend that Socrates held a man’s head underwater to illustrate how much effort was required to actually learn, not a torture method.

    Denying that the procedure was waterboarding, Ellis said the investigation also showed that Hudgens was an “enthusiastic and energetic” participant, was not restrained and didn’t complain until weeks later.

    Ellis said the company offered to provide counseling for Hudgens after hearing he experienced discomfort, but he did not accept it.

    “Instead, he hired an attorney.”

    Hudgens, in his lawsuit, said he reported the incident to the company’s human resources department, but nothing was done until after he left the company.

    In his suit, he said the waterboarding was not the only thing Christopherson did to humiliate subordinates. Christopherson allegedly took away underperforming employees’ desk chairs, drew mustaches on their faces and hit their desks with a wooden paddle….”

  • Eugene Costa

    One does not have to be a Democrat to approve thje good sense and necessity of the following effort:

    Impeach Bush and Cheney for Torture

    On Friday, George Bush told ABC News he personally approved of the approval of torture – including waterboarding – by Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and George Tenet.

    “Yes, I’m aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved.”

    In the wake of this shocking and appalling confession, we’ve come to a historic moment where every American – and every Member of Congress – must take a stand.

    Either you’re for torture or you’re against it. And if you’re against it, you must support the only Constitutional remedy for a President and Vice President who commit war crimes: impeachment.

    Tell Congress to Impeach Bush and Cheney for Torture
    http://www.democrats.com/impeach-for-torture

    Dr. Martin Luther King famously said of the Vietnam War, “A time comes when silence is betrayal.”

    When our President and Vice President personally approve torture, that time is now.

  • Eugene Costa

    The Progressive Conniff April 14, 2008:….We now have confirmation that the President of the United States gave the OK for his national security team to violate international law and plot the sordid details of torture. The Democrats in Congress should be raising the roof.

    House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers, to his credit, has suggested subpoenaing the members of the Principals Committee, calling their actions “a stain on our democracy.”

    Conyers also threatened last week to subpoena John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer whose recently declassified 2003 torture memos attempted to give legal cover to practices such as waterboarding.

    Such techniques, as long as their sole purpose wasn’t sadism, were acceptable, Yoo wrote. Being a sadist was presumably necessary but not sufficient qualification for employment in the Bush White House.

    In his new book The Terror Presidency, Yoo’s colleague Jack Goldsmith writes about his evolution from friend and supporter of the officials who brought us to this pass to a conscientious objector to their illegal and morally corrupt practices.

    Back when he worked for Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, Goldsmith wrote a memo warning that Bush Administration officials could be indicted by the International Criminal Court for their actions in the war on terror.

    After he went to work for Justice, Goldsmith began standing up to the torture cabal at the White House–to his enduring discomfort. In one incident, recounted in his book and in a September profile by Jeffrey Rosen of the New York Times Magazine, he knocked heads with Dick Cheney’s advisor (now his chief of staff) David Addington. Goldsmith delivered the bad news that terror suspects were, in fact, covered by the Fourth Geneva Convention against torture of civilians: “’The president has already decided that terrorists do not receive Geneva Convention protections,’” Addington replied angrily, according to Goldsmith. ‘You cannot question his decision.'”….

    [http://www.progressive.org/mag_rc041408]