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Part Two of Excellent Series on Cheney:
The Washington Post has posted Part II of its series of Vice President Cheney. This one covers Cheney's role in defining Administration legal policies relating to terrorism. A must-read: highly recommended. Part I was here.
Litigator:
The article conclusively debunks the proposition that this administration refuses to listen to the coequal branches of government. How else could a legislator have so much influence on its policy?
6.25.2007 1:37am
Ben P (mail):

he new Army field manual, published the next day, said that interrogators were forbidden to employ a long list of techniques that had been used against suspected terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001 -- including stripping, hooding, inflicting pain and forcing the performance of sex acts.


wait what?

that got a serious double take

what bizarre kind of torture is this?
6.25.2007 1:59am
John Herbison (mail):
If the criterion is what conduct shocks the conscience, no wonder the Vice-President is confused. In his case, the standard presupposes a fact not evident.

One hopes that William Rehnquist is only the first occupant of a particularly onerous section of Hell that, in due time, will include Sandra O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Uncle Thomas, the monkey George W. Bush and his organ-grinder Dick Cheney.
6.25.2007 3:18am
Cornellian (mail):
One hopes that William Rehnquist is only the first occupant of a particularly onerous section of Hell that, in due time, will include Sandra O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Uncle Thomas, the monkey George W. Bush and his organ-grinder Dick Cheney.

Were that to happen, I'd grant an immediate pardon to Rehnquist, O'Connor, Kennedy and Thomas. And I'd at least think about one for Bush.
6.25.2007 5:20am
Truth Seeker:
I don't agree with much of what Cheney does, but the more I hear from the rabid anti-Cheney left the more I'm willing to give Cheney a pass.

And I used to split my ticket when voting but the exepremism of the Dem leadership has convinced me to vote only for Republicans just to spite them.
6.25.2007 9:35am
Dave N (mail):
One hopes that William Rehnquist is only the first occupant of a particularly onerous section of Hell that, in due time, will include Sandra O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Uncle Thomas, the monkey George W. Bush and his organ-grinder Dick Cheney.

John Herbison's hate-filled postings are a disservice to those of us, left, right, and center who are interested in rationale discourse, even when we might disagree with what others say. Trolls like Herbison should look for a Kos-like echo chamber for their bilge--and not pollute this site.
6.25.2007 10:05am
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
Mr. Kerr, what is so "excellent" about this series?
6.25.2007 10:10am
AppSocRes (mail):
he new Army field manual, published the next day, said that interrogators were forbidden to employ a long list of techniques that had been used against suspected terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001 -- including stripping, hooding, inflicting pain and forcing the performance of sex acts.

what bizarre kind of torture is this?

- Shnoo Shnoo -- reference Zap Brannigan for details.
6.25.2007 10:11am
Just Dropping By (mail):
The article conclusively debunks the proposition that this administration refuses to listen to the coequal branches of government. How else could a legislator have so much influence on its policy?

Litigator wins the thread!
6.25.2007 10:15am
pete (mail) (www):
"One hopes that William Rehnquist is only the first occupant of a particularly onerous section of Hell that, in due time, will include Sandra O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Uncle Thomas, the monkey George W. Bush and his organ-grinder Dick Cheney."

I have been reading this site pretty regularly for several years. I have read the dailykos, democratic underground, huffington post, and other similar leftwing hate sites occasionaly. Recently in these Cheney threads it is hard to tell the difference between the two with comments like "Uncle Clarence Thomas" and referenceces to George W. Bush as a monkey. I am waiting for the first comment hoping Cheney will have another heart attack and the transition will be complete.

This is one of the very, very few bolgs I know of where the comments are from multiple political perspectives and where the comments tend to be civil. I like the Conspiracy's comment policy of: "So please, also avoid rants, invective, substantial and repeated exaggeration, and radical departures from the topic of the thread." Its why I keep coming back. I hope the other commenters will read that policy again and take it to heart before they post.
6.25.2007 10:41am
Anderson (mail) (www):
It's remarkable that some commenters criticize the OT snark that's posted, without themselves offering anything substantive on the main post or the linked article. Lead by example, I suggest.

I already linked the article &made some comments about it in the earlier thread, but here are some additional thoughts:

(1) Leaving aside the immunity provisions of the MCA, could Cheney and Addington in theory be indicted for conspiracy to violate the War Crimes Act, even where they haven't themselves committed the illegal acts themselves?

(2) I'll ask this one by example, since I have a hard time framing it: say Addington, Flanigan, and Yoo were indicted on the conspiracy count I've imagined, and defended themselves by arguing they were just providing legal advice. Would it be possible to "pierce" that "veil" by showing that they were in fact arguing with the predetermined conclusion of evading the WCA, and that their arguments were deliberately slanted to that end? (The "no sincere lawyer would omit Youngstown" argument, if you will.)

(3) Less technically: Yoo seems positively chatty in the article, doesn't he? And eager to spread responsibility? Not to mention, a model of restraint:
Yoo said for the first time in an interview that he verbally warned lawyers for the president, Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it would be dangerous as a matter of policy to permit military interrogators to use the harshest techniques, because the armed services, vastly larger than the CIA, could overuse the tools or exceed the limits. "I always thought that only the CIA should do this, but people at the White House and at DOD felt differently," Yoo said. The migration of those techniques from the CIA to the military, and from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib, aroused worldwide condemnation when abuse by U.S. troops was exposed.
Assuming for the moment that he really did this, was his real motive the (well-placed) fear that once the cat got out of the CIA bag, publicity would follow?
6.25.2007 10:59am
taney71:
"One hopes that William Rehnquist is only the first occupant of a particularly onerous section of Hell that, in due time, will include Sandra O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Uncle Thomas, the monkey George W. Bush and his organ-grinder Dick Cheney."

Wow! That is just horrible. I imagine you are a treat to be around.
6.25.2007 10:59am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ben: "what bizarre kind of torture is this?"

Forcing nude prisoners to fellate each other (etc.) is not a joke, and it doesn't make us safer. Folks who for various reasons can't manage to comprehend this seem to have found a happy home in the GOP. Likewise for folks who aggressively, categorically abhor homosexual acts. Interesting how this works.
6.25.2007 11:12am
p. rich (mail) (www):
Between antiquated assumptions about warfare that form the basis for many current laws, and the imposition of political correctness doctrine on modern Liberal world views, it would seem inevitable that allowable actions would degenerate to the equivalent of, "We must be nice to those who would exterminate us."
6.25.2007 11:21am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Between antiquated assumptions about warfare that form the basis for many current laws, and the imposition of political correctness doctrine on modern Liberal world views, it would seem inevitable that allowable actions would degenerate to the equivalent of, "We must be nice to those who would exterminate us."

You know, when you find yourself writing stuff that's indistinguishable from fascist propaganda, it's worthwhile to pause and consider whether the resemblance indicates any flaw in your thinking.

Once a terrorist is your prisoner, basic decency *and* prudence militate in favor of treating him with enough respect not to humiliate or degrade him, much less torture him. Abusing a Qaeda officer merely confirms his worldview and strengthens him in it. (Cf. KSM's remarkable, twisted speech to the CSRT.) Professional interrogators are agreed that abuse and torture are the methods of amateurs.

What's remarkable about the latest story is that CIA was so impoverished in its humint resources that it apparently couldn't even carry out effective interrogations. Had KSM et al. been in military custody from the get-go, we might never have had the resort to waterboarding, etc.
6.25.2007 11:30am
Orielbean (mail):
This series is excellent for me, as I don't have time to piece together all the stories around Cheney. It is well-written, easy to follow, and calls out the principals who aided Cheney's policies. It doesn't call anyone an organ-grinder, but it makes the attitudes of each of the players very clear and what part they played in the drama.
6.25.2007 11:33am
U.Va. 2L:
Hicks was subjected to . . . sodomy with a foreign object

Just fraternity pranks, that.

That we're actually raping detainees is far and away the most disturbing revelation of this series--and it's not like the rest of the articles have been all hearts and flowers.
6.25.2007 11:47am
byomtov (mail):
John Herbison's hate-filled postings are a disservice to those of us, left, right, and center who are interested in rationale discourse, even when we might disagree with what others say. Trolls like Herbison should look for a Kos-like echo chamber for their bilge--and not pollute this site.

I trust you are equally opposed to hate-filled postings by right-wingers who pollute the site. Broad, hateful, and idiotic generalizations about liberals are a regular feature of some commenters' work here. So let's have non-partisan outrage at incivility, or no outrage at all.
6.25.2007 11:55am
FC:
Oh, excuse me. I was looking for the Volokh Conspiracy but I seem to have found the the DailyKerr.
6.25.2007 12:03pm
Hoosier:
byomtov--

"Well, THEY did it too!" I don't think that's a very good response. But that's just my opinion. I may be going to Hell.

I'll have to check with Herbison on that, since he seems to have an "in" down there--Rage being one of the Seven Deadly Sins and all.
6.25.2007 12:03pm
Dave N (mail):
Byomotov,

Please point to a single conservative post--just one, since you appear to think they are as numerous as Herbison's--and provide a link.

There are many posters on this site I disagree with, but whom I respect because they provide argument and analysis--even if I disagree with that argument and anlysis.

Herbison, on the other hand, is a hate-filled troll--and I make no apologies for calling him on it.
6.25.2007 12:06pm
byomtov (mail):
"Well, THEY did it too!" I don't think that's a very good response. But that's just my opinion. I may be going to Hell.

I don't think it's a good response either.

My point is that if someone is going to object to pointless hate-filled comments they shouldn't restrict themselves to those made by one side.
6.25.2007 12:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rich: "We must be nice to those who would exterminate us"

Behaving like humans isn't about being 'nice' to someone else. It's about protecting our own humanity. A lot of soldiers are coming home with mental health problems because their GOP leaders told them this wasn't important.

By the way, probably every atrocity in history had enablers and apologists who claimed that they were only doing what was necessary to deal with "those who would exterminate us."

And once you declare your willingness to be inhuman, as you have done, the difference between you and our enemies is only a matter of degree. Yes, our actions are different from theirs. Just not different enough.
6.25.2007 12:11pm
Pale Jewel:

Cheney's lawyer ridiculed the vagueness of the Geneva ban on "outrages upon personal dignity," saying it would leave U.S. troops timid in the face of unpredictable legal risk.


None of what is contained within this article is news to me, but this quotation provides an effective summary of certain sections of the US Adminstration's disregard for the international community and their apparent inability to see that it is possible to both provide national security and respect human rights.

I am once again left with the feeling of being unsurprised yet nauseated, which is somehow more unpleasant than being surprised and nauseated.
6.25.2007 12:18pm
No one of consequence (mail):
What strikes me the most is how Cheney's office owned Gonzales.

"Gonzales listened quietly as the Justice Department and his own staff lined up against Addington. Then he decided in favor of Cheney's lawyer."
6.25.2007 12:24pm
Bah:
It also seems that Cheney is able to use his bureaucratic fighting abilities to delay, or reverse, action that Bush, Rice and Gates want. Really makes one wonder who the president really is.

"A year after Bush announced at a news conference that 'I'd like to close Guantanamo,' plans to expand it are proceeding. Senior officials said Cheney, standing nearly alone, has turned back strong efforts -- by Rice, England, new Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and former Bush speechwriter Mike Gerson, among others -- to give the president what he said he wants."
6.25.2007 12:30pm
jimbino (mail):
We citizens of the world will just have to bring war criminal Cheney to justice along with Kissinger. It's mildly comforting to know that they will never be safe from prosecution if they ever leave Amerika.
6.25.2007 12:33pm
Jay C (mail):
"...it would seem inevitable that allowable actions would degenerate to the equivalent of, "We must be nice to those who would exterminate us."

Well, p. rich, as other commenters have noted, this would be risible reductionism (and morally questionable) even IF restricted to "those who would exterminate us".
The main problem with applying this formula to situations like those that prevailed in Abu Ghraib (and other places) is that maltreatment/abuse/torture, whatever - has been given to prisoners WITHOUT regard to their "status". Whether hardened terrorist, terror sympathiser, innocent bystander picked up in a sweep, poor schmuck turned in for the reward, etc.
Whatever the moral implications of condoning torture/abuse might be: this sort of argument-by-cheap-sneer - apparently a variation on the stale old "X-is-'soft'-on-terrorists" wheeze - fails the smell test.
If you do indeed have some infallible method of discerning exactly who out there "would exterminate us", please do share it, so that we can all feel safer!
6.25.2007 12:33pm
JosephSlater (mail):
While I hate to take this further off-topic, it is clear that there are some right-wing commenters who are regularly as insulting or more insulting than the comment that has drawn attention here.

I agree, however, that "they did it too" is not a great defense, and that everyone should try to be civil.
6.25.2007 12:36pm
Just an Observer:
From the second part of the series:

According to participants in the debate, the vice president stands by the view that Bush need not honor any of the new judicial and legislative restrictions. His lawyer, they said, has recently restated Cheney's argument that when courts and Congress "purport to" limit the commander in chief's warmaking authority, he has the constitutional prerogative to disregard them.


Quite a stark exposition of Cheney's radical view of executive power.
6.25.2007 12:37pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
What strikes me the most is how Cheney's office owned Gonzales.

Easily understood, on the theory that Cheney is simply carrying out what Bush wants done, and that Gonzales is at least bright enough to know that.

That's the problem with Bah's musing that Cheney can reverse what Bush supposedly wants. Cheney has zero authority to foil the president, other than voting the "wrong" way on Senate ties -- not a fearsome power.

Bush's statement that he wants Gitmo closed, sometime or other, should be filed with his statements that "we don't torture" and that we don't render to countries that torture. Recall that, on the rendition statement, the CIA's acting general counsel absolutely would not state under oath that what the president said was true.
6.25.2007 12:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "Please point to a single conservative post"

Try this:

Every anti-Bush action and every anti-war activity gives aid and comfort to the enemy. It makes al Quaida more hopeful. Lincoln suspended civil rights during the war. Why should we allow such overt treason today?


You asked for an example of "a hate-filled troll." In my opinion, someone who explicitly, shamelessly claims that "every anti-Bush action" is an act of "overt treason" is indeed "a hate-filled troll," or worse.

Please note that roughly 50-60% of the country took the "anti-Bush action," in 2004 and 2006, of voting D, an action which was "overt treason," and that we should not "allow."

It's also pretty remarkable that such a view is what we now call "conservative."
6.25.2007 12:41pm
Bah:
"That's the problem with Bah's musing that Cheney can reverse what Bush supposedly wants."

Cheney controls the flow of information into the president's office. He can make a case for his positions and weaken his opponent's positions (Rice, Gates, etc.) by selectively exposing the president to evidence. While Cheney may not be able to directly go against the president, he can build such one sided arguments that the president has no choice but to comply against his better moral judgment.
6.25.2007 12:45pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
that the president has no choice but to comply against his better moral judgment.

See, that's another hole in your theory ... ;)

I agree that there's been quite an effort to insulate Bush, but the president has surely collaborated in it. Even if he trusted Cheney and Rumsfeld, he should've been able to infer from the looting of Baghdad, the rise of the insurgency, and the Abu Ghraib photos that they were fools.

At some point, it's impossible to give the Tsar a pass on account of his wicked ministers. We do after all have newspapers, blogs, etc.
6.25.2007 12:49pm
Ben P (mail):

Cheney has zero authority to foil the president, other than voting the "wrong" way on Senate ties -- not a fearsome power.


I think you're discounting one of the other main themes of the article. the fact that Cheney is a consumate political operator, good at exercising "shadow power" so to speak.

Yes, it's true that the VP has very little legal power, but I think the article clearly demonstrates that via his own influence, and the influence of those loyal to him, Cheney can exercise far more power than his legal authority would grant.

In terms of directly foiling the president, he can't directly override the president, but I think it's clear he can stonewall any implementation of the president's wishes when he disagrees.

I think the bit about closing Guantanamo is a good example.

We have the fact that more than a year ago, Bush publically stated he wants to close the guantanamo bay detention facility.

If we accept the article's premise that this is in fact the true position of Bush, and that other cabinet level officials have made real efforts to put this into effect, we are left with the assumption that someone (Cheney) is stopping this process.

He's clearly not doing this through direct authority, as he's not in the chain of command on decisions like this. But this in no way prevents him from authorizing indirect authority. Those loyal to him simply delay on the issue, or if they have enough support, ignore it altogether, and because of Cheney's influence, those higher up cannot force their decisions upon the lower subordinates.
6.25.2007 12:53pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
We have the fact that more than a year ago, Bush publically stated he wants to close the guantanamo bay detention facility.

But as I wrote above, there's no good reason to accept the article's premise. Bush does not consider that his public statements are shackled by the facts, to put it mildly.

It's just unbelievable -- as in, not believable -- that Cheney has been going wild for 5 or 6 years now without Bush's approval. How stupid would Bush have to be?
6.25.2007 12:59pm
Bah:
I should really stop posting, but I guess what I was trying to say is that Cheney is adept at wielding the bureaucracy to delay policies he disagrees with and quickly implement those that he conceives.

President Bush is also susceptible to manipulation because he probably has minimal exposure to "newspapers, blogs, etc." and relies heavily on Cheney to filter out information so that he only has to read what he believes are the key points.

Both Cheney's masterful use of the bureaucracy and the president's lack of assertiveness contribute to Cheney's control of the government.

I am not saying that the president should not be held accountable for what occurs in his administration.
6.25.2007 1:01pm
Ella (www):
Bah - Cheney controls the flow of information because, and only because, Bush lets him. Bush is the President of the United States. If Cheney is using the authority Bush has granted him or permitted him to assume in a manner that Bush finds objectionable, Bush can simply deprive him of that authority.
6.25.2007 1:02pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
jay: "given to prisoners WITHOUT regard to their 'status' "

It's not true that we've been entirely indiscriminate with regard to who we sodomize etc. I think for the most part we've been careful to select people with dark skin who don't worship Jesus. Which raises the question: who would Jesus sodomize?

bah: "really makes one wonder who the president really is"

I think it's worth repeating something that was mentioned here and here:

There was joke in Washington after Mr Cheney's heart condition became known that "George Bush is just a heartbeat away from the presidency."


anderson: "at some point, it's impossible to give the Tsar a pass on account of his wicked ministers"

Cheney enables Bush and Bush enables Cheney. And they both have countless other enablers who express themselves in voting booths and blogs.
6.25.2007 1:09pm
Bah:
Ella:

I agree. Bush trusts Cheney and probably believes that he does a good job of filtering out extraneous information. This does not mean that Cheney does not abuse this trust to feed the president information that supports his own positions.

The fact that the president is unaware that he is being manipulated does not mean that Cheney is not manipulating him.
6.25.2007 1:11pm
e:

Hicks was subjected to . . . sodomy with a foreign object

That we're actually raping detainees is far and away the most disturbing revelation of this series--and it's not like the rest of the articles have been all hearts and flowers.
. . .
[and another post stated prisoners were forced to fellate each other]

That would be quite disturbing, but I'm not so quick to buy the claims. Sometimes prisoners lie. Sometimes guards do things which are hardly tolerated or policy. Also if a prisoner were told to simulate fellatio on a dildo, that is wrong, but a world apart from our usual conception of rape.
6.25.2007 1:13pm
Dave N (mail):
jukeboxgrad,

I personally find name-calling by all sides to be odious and intellectually dishonest. You cite a post from October of last year--on a thread that EV started regarding the very topic for which that poster commented.

I disagree with that post but it was on topic. Herbison's comment, on the other hand, assuredly was not (how far off topic can you get by expressing hatred toward William Rehnquist and other Supreme Court justices in a discussion on Dick Cheney?).

Me, I find the WaPo series interesting--and I think we all agree that Dick Cheney's power comes not from being the Vice President but from being a trusted counselor to the President.
6.25.2007 1:13pm
Ben P (mail):

Cheney controls the flow of information because, and only because, Bush lets him.


You'd really be suprised how often this isn't necessarily true. With any president.

In college I wrote a research paper contrasting management styles of Eisenhower, Kennedy and LBJ regarding the Vietnam war.

One of the things that popped up was that, once advisors were in that position of having the president's ear, they could exercise a substantial amount of their own power to keep that decision.

LBJ was less interested in direct involvement in the decision making process and for a time at least, trusted his (inherited from Kennedy's) cabinet to present him with the best choices. But as those policies ran downhill, McNamara exercised a fair amount of authority to ensure that people didn't go around him to tell the president other things.
6.25.2007 1:16pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Bah, my disagreements with you are I hope being taken in a good spirit -- we're just trying to flesh out a situation with many unknowns, a sort of Potomac Kremlinology.

In that spirit, I'm not sure the WaPo shows a "masterful use of the bureaucracy" by Cheney at all. What he's done hasn't been subtle or skillful. Rather, Cheney has simply ignored the bureaucracy -- "cutting through the red tape," as we like to say -- and gone straight to Bush, treating Powell, Rice, and Ashcroft like bystanders. And Bush, in what's at best a stunning display of ignorance as to how an executive should function, has allowed this to happen -- indeed, encouraged it, it would seem.

In other words, driving down the median is not a masterful use of driving skills.
6.25.2007 1:16pm
Hoosier:
Bah--Bush claims not to read the papers much. And I'll take him at his word. Beyond that, I get the impression that he is highly ("extraordinarilly"?) dependent upon his staff for the information that flows up to him. Not just information about what goes on in lower levels of the Executive Branch. But information about the rest of the world. He appears to think that this is the way a good executive functions.

Now I confess that I've never run anything besides my mouth. But there seems to be a huge difference between Eisenhower's decision to allow smaller decisions to be made at lower levels, and Bush's (apparent) decision to allow his team to decide what the president knows and addresses. Ike also had Andy Goodpaster as the conduit of information from departments and offices to the WH desk. Goodpaster was a sharp, experienced guy. But his only agenda was to be a good staffer to the CINC.

Having one's information flow dictated by someone with his own power-base seems a mistake to me.

jimbino--You've just given a good example of why many of us who condiser ourselves multilateralists nmevertheless don't want the US joining the International Criminal Court: You "citizens of the world" have decided to bring American policy makers to trial after having already convicted them as "war criminals." I for one don't want the Senate to ratify a treaty that sacrifices my right to due process, than you very much.
6.25.2007 1:18pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
He appears to think that this is the way a good executive functions.

You would think his MBA program addressed this at some point ... maybe he delegated note-taking to someone else?
6.25.2007 1:30pm
Hoosier:
Anderson--This is PRECISELY what I find so damned ironic. He's the "first MBA president." Well, I can't say that I now find Romney's MBA very reassuring.

By the Way: No one should ever listen to me. I thought that Cheney was going to make an excellent VP, since he could help compensate for W's manifest lack of preparation in many areas of presidential responsibility. Shows what I know.
6.25.2007 1:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Between antiquated assumptions about warfare that form the basis for many current laws, and the imposition of political correctness doctrine on modern Liberal world views,"

This seems to be Cheney's view as well. And it's a strange one, because it assumes that no one ever thought of torture in the past, and that we are playing nice just to please liberals. But no, a realist, a hard-nosed man of war knows that torture is the only way to get a person to talk!

Torture actually was the norm throughout much of human existence, contrary to these assertions. We have outlawed them for several reasons, not the least of which is that the information obtained under duress is often highly suspect. And so the real purpose of torture is merely to torture -- instill fear in the prisoners and inflict as much pain as possible for no other purpose than some vague sense of punishment. It is exacthy THAT which has been outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.

Communist governments worldwide used torture -- do you really think that they were doing it to obtain information? Of course not. And considering the fact that most of the detainees in Gitmo have been held for several years, any information they could give is now years old, making any information obtained dubious at best.
6.25.2007 1:34pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Suskind's One Percent Doctrine is interesting, if sketchy, on how the CIA turned to torture. Apparently, their heads were filled with "ticking bomb" scenarios in the wake of 9/11, and they simply didn't have the patience (or, I suspect, the human capital) for rapport-based interrogation.

There have been plenty of examples of how FBI interrogators did better with their subjects, but then had the subjects whisked away so that the Real Men could take off the gloves, etc.

The most depressing thing about Cheney's pattern of behavior is the utter contempt he shows for the American system of government &for the rule of law. He appears to believe that anything less than an untrammelled executive is a weakness, and that the checks and balances of the Framers -- people who had just won a life-or-death struggle against a British Empire that would surely have hanged them all as traitors -- are silly impediments to effective government. Ditto the view that the federal courts would coddle suspected terrorists.

Thus we get our interrogators literally following the Soviet playbook, etc., etc.
6.25.2007 1:49pm
John Herbison (mail):
Pardon me if I was obtuse. I am infrequently accused of subtlety. Excoriating those who, in a remarkably arrogant display of power politics by folks who abandoned their role as jurists, anointed George W. Bush as president (and by extension, Dick Cheney as Vice-President) is hardly off-topic in response to an expose of the misdeeds of the current administration. This is a lawless administration, placed in office by a lawless Supreme Court. One wonders whether O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas are proud of what they have wrought. (On second thought, we know from his public comments that Scalia is in fact proud. But then, pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.)

As for the organ-grinder/monkey metaphor, even allowing that there is a bit a spleen there, that is entirely consistent with the theme of the linked article--that Cheney, rather than Bush, is calling the shots.
6.25.2007 1:51pm
Dave N (mail):
John Herbison,

By your logic, then Barbara Bush should go to hell too because she didn't abort during her first pregnancy--and so shouold everyone who voted for the President in both 2000 and 2004.

Be gone, troll.
6.25.2007 2:07pm
Hoosier:
"A lawless Supreme Court"?

Who /decides/ that?
6.25.2007 2:09pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Dave N provides an example of the truth of Nietzsche's statement: those who battle trolls risk becoming trolls.

The Barbara Bush bit is worse than anything Herbison wrote, by a good order of magnitude.

(I actually think the organ-grinder image would make a good editorial cartoon; in fact, I can't believe it hasn't been done already.)
6.25.2007 2:11pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
e: "sometimes prisoners lie"

Numerous charges of abuse are backed by corroborating evidence, and don't rely on assuming that prisoners never lie.

"I'm not so quick to buy the claims."

If you're eager to review photos, you can do so here, here, here, here and here. Information about the authenticity of these photos is here. Sworn statements relevant to these photos are here.

"if a prisoner were told to simulate fellatio on a dildo"

One or more of the photos I cited depict fellatio, and it's definitely not "fellatio on a dildo." I realize you'd like to hide inside your fantasy of what happened, instead of dealing with what actually happened.

If you'd like a real challenge to your powers of denial, take a look at the Army's own report.

"Sometimes guards do things which are hardly tolerated or policy."

It was clear a long time ago, and it's becoming more and more clear, that this cowardly practice of routinely blaming the little guy is not going to wash. You're floating the same lame, counterfactual excuse used by every two-bit thug in history. Taguba and others have documented widespread, systemic problems that clearly cannot be hidden behind the "just a few bad apples" argument.
6.25.2007 2:16pm
WHOI Jacket:
Where were all these abuses when Cheney was Sec. of Defense? During the First Gulf War, wouldn't Darth Cheney (R-Hell) have directed our forces to inflict as much suffering and humiliation/torture on those little brown folks as possible?
6.25.2007 2:37pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "I disagree with that post but it was on topic. Herbison's comment, on the other hand, assuredly was not"

I think you are disingenuously backpedaling and trying to change the subject. Earlier, you definitely didn't complain that Herbison's comment was not "on topic." You complained (both here and here) that it was "hate-filled." And you suggested ("please point to a single conservative post--just one") that this was a one-way street.

It's not, as I have shown, so now you're trying to pretend that your original complaint was something different than what it was. In my opinion, this sort of dishonesty is trollish.

Anyway, what's your latest point? That conservatives are superior because their hate-filled remarks are (allegedly) more likely to be on-topic? Is staying on-topic a higher value than avoiding hatefulness? Is hatefullness inoffensive as long as it's on-topic? All this is quite novel.
6.25.2007 2:43pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
WHOI, when Cheney was SECDEF, we had what Brad DeLong calls the "grown-up Republicans" in power, including serious cabinet officials who wouldn't have allowed the kind of overreach we've seen from Cheney. Whatever else one may think of George H.W. Bush, it's implausible that he would've allowed anyone to have that kind of power.

Also, of course, we hadn't yet had 9/11, which seems to've unhinged in particular the sort of conservative who exulted in American invincibility. Our relative freedom from terror attack had a lot more to do with luck and oceans than with any "strength" of ours, but that escaped notice.
6.25.2007 2:49pm
Dave N (mail):
Anderson,

You are right, and I apologize for the hyperbole of my pervious post.

Jukeboxgrad,

You provided an example. I pointed out that your example was actually a post on the subject that you decry. I said I disagreed with the post and I did not defend it other than to say it was on topic.

I find the entire "liberals are socialists" "conservatives are Nazis" meme to be tiresome and counterproductive. Some people on both sides do it as an attempt to stifle debate. My complaint about Herbison's post was that it was full of hate and venom--I am sorry I offended your sensibilities by not also saying up front it was also off-topic.

Frankly, I like civility from all posters. I find most posters here can legitimately disagree without being disagreeable. That was my point.
6.25.2007 3:02pm
Smokey:

The fact that the president is unaware that he is being manipulated does not mean that Cheney is not manipulating him.

Finally! I've been looking for a perfect example of Vulcan mind control.


And for the record, jukeboxgrad, not everyone lives in your cozy little world. I, for one, have no problem whatever with our military's use of waterboarding, or any other interrogation methods they find effective. In case you've forgotten so quickly, Islamists have routinely stated that they intend to kill us. They mean it. Islamists worldwide take great joy in the fact that their Islamist brothers saw off the heads of civilians they have kidnapped. Not one Islamist in a million -- literally -- publicly denounces the barbaric atrocities of their fellow Islamists. They would happily commit the very same atrocities on us and on our families if they could. For the good of humanity, Islam must be destroyed.

Attacking our military during war time is not helpful, except to the enemy. As far as I am concerned, our soldiers have an extremely difficult job to do. Whining about waterboarding or prisoners on leashes only makes their jobs harder. I won't second-guess our soldiers' conduct in a war. As George Orwell said, ''People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.'' It is that very violence that keeps you safe.
6.25.2007 3:03pm
Hoosier:
That quote gets attributed to Orwell all the time. And it does /sound/ like something he would have said. But there's no evidence that he ever said it.

By the way, how do you plan on destroying Islam? By destroying all the Muslims? Even the baby ones?
6.25.2007 3:12pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "so shouold everyone who voted for the President in both 2000 and 2004"

2000 is another story for all sorts of obvious reasons, but I think that lots of people who voted R in 2004 are experiencing a serious case of buyer's remorse, and for good reason. And this group does indeed have responsibility for what it enabled: a great deal of harm to all sorts of things, including the GOP.

whoi: "Where were all these abuses when Cheney was Sec. of Defense"

Poppy provided some adult supervision. As Anderson pointed out.
6.25.2007 3:14pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
Interesting, being called a fascist. Especially for pointing out that:

1. Archaic "Rules of Warfare" do not reflect the nature of the current conflict against radical Muslims, and
2. "Nice" is not an appropriate position to take when one's culture and very existence are threatened.

Apparently those sentiments triggered a knee-jerk reaction from some who believe they should be the arbiters of morality as it applies to war, if in fact there can ever be an adequate definition of morality when under attack. I tend to think the first rule of survival is Survive. If that requires tossing out the tea party etiquette, so be it.
6.25.2007 3:25pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "I am sorry I offended your sensibilities by not also saying up front it was also off-topic"

You're still trying to change the subject. You persist in being disingenuous by pretending you don't know what you did that was offensive. What you did that was offensive was asserting that hateful speech here is a one-way street.

"I find most posters here can legitimately disagree without being disagreeable. That was my point."

When you said "please point to a single conservative post--just one," you were making a different point, a point you are now trying to sweep under the rug.

"I find the entire 'liberals are socialists' 'conservatives are Nazis' meme to be tiresome and counterproductive."

I showed you an example of a poster here claiming, almost verbatim, that all liberals are traitors. Maybe you can present an example of someone claiming that all conservatives are Nazis. Just one.
6.25.2007 3:26pm
whackjobbbb:
Bah... this is all just more weaktea, crybaby stuff... and I thought the whiners woulda got this out of their system yesterday. Bush and Cheney were reelected by 63,000,000 voters, who evidently approve of their actions... even if some don't. They'll be gone shortly, and none of what they've done is irreversible... or any more consequential than the mistakes made by previous generations of public figures here.

I'm more interested in placing this into the context of history and our past experience, and exploring it in a way that the shallow media is incapable of doing... in a 4 part article or anything else it appears. Let's do that, shall we?


Once a terrorist is your prisoner, basic decency *and* prudence militate in favor of treating him with enough respect not to humiliate or degrade him, much less torture him.


Anderson,

Not that I disagree with your statement, but would you not agree that the US government has as a matter of policy engaged in this conduct in past wars? Would you not agree that the policies offered up by this administration are platformed off that past work?

Recall that in WWII, just outside Washington, D.C., the US Navy operated a little detention facility accepting captured U-boat crewmen. Here, these German prisoners, none logged into the Geneva system, were "processed". I shouldn't have to tell you the types of "processing" they underwent, but suffice to say that many brave sailors and merchmentmen were dying a cold, miserable in the Battle of the Atlantic, and the military took a great interest in what those prisoners knew. FDR was well aware of all this... sorta like "Geneva... SCHMENEVA... I'm fighting a war here, and my guys are dying."

Is what the CIA advocated so different than what was done then? Is this such a massive departure from historical precedent?

--


Professional interrogators are agreed that abuse and torture are the methods of amateurs.


Disagree, Anderson. KSM cracked within 1-minute of waterboarding... a technique that many of our own servicemen undergo as a matter of training... with (allegedly) no longterm physical effects. Again, not saying I agree or disagree with these methods, but among many other methods... they appear to work... and work well. Would you preclude their "productive" use, even if a deadly threat is imminent?

--



Had KSM et al. been in military custody from the get-go, we might never have had the resort to waterboarding, etc.


This is likely a true statement. The Army never sanctioned these methods, then or now, and General Taguba's IG report made this very clear... that the Army policy was to operate by Geneva... by the book. Can we set aside this Abu Graib/Guantanamo distraction, finally, and turn solely to the real issues, within context?

--

I'm reminded of Hugo Black's merciless fascism in Korematsu. FDR had to fight a war, and we might agree or disagree with his methods for doing so, but he employed his methods in the heat of battle, and these were finally subject to review by all the functional groups within government, during and after. However, Black, as a part of one of these functional groups, among a group of 6 black-robed fascists, enshrined an evil that while it may have sprang from horrific choices available at the time, was still an evil. And he did this in sober circumstance, long after the smoke of battle had cleared (and the stain he colored us is on us today, and has set the stage for much other of the black-robed fascists' work since that time).

We have systems of government, and the people come and go, as the current executive and his buddy will be doing shortly. I'd recommend putting aside the BDS/CDS, and fitting this nonsense into a larger picture, even as you flail at your political enemies. Your real enemy may be staring at you from the mirror.
6.25.2007 3:27pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
On the "Orwell" quote, see here.

Smokey's embrace of either fascism or genocide -- or is it both? -- needs no response.

Those wistfully imagining United States v. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington et al. may be heartened that the MCA apparently did not immunize from prosecution under the torture statute, which expressly allows for a conspiracy count.

N.b. that I do not particularly want to see Cheney et al. before any foreign or international tribunal -- I would much prefer to see them tried under the U.S. flag. It would restore some of my pride in Old Glory.
6.25.2007 3:28pm
Crust (mail):
Here's a link for Smokey's Orwell quote. From Wikipedia's list of misquotations.
6.25.2007 3:28pm
Hoosier:
I agree that the rule book goes out the window when national survival is on the line: No government has the right to decide that its citizens will be slaughtered or enslaved.

So this would justify an awful lot of things, should Churchill have done them in 1940-1941.

But American actions in Iraq don't seem to fall under the category that my Church would call 'in extremis.' Is our /survival' on the line in the Middle East? It's hard to see how it could be.
6.25.2007 3:29pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
but would you not agree that the US government has as a matter of policy engaged in this conduct in past wars?

As a matter of policy, up to the White House itself? I'm not so sure about that. Got some cites re: FDR and the U-boat fellows?

KSM cracked within 1-minute of waterboarding

So we are told, by the very people who would be held liable for violating the torture statute, and who have a very strong incentive to protect themselves.

Anyway, the issue is not whether torture ever gets results -- of course it does. It's that torture often produces misinformation (due to the victim's desire to comply and the torturer's tendency to torture until he hears what he wants to hear), is subject to gross abuse, and is thought by professionals to be *less* effective than rapport-based interrogation. Even the freakin' Gestapo found that torture was an inferior method.

even if a deadly threat is imminent?

The "ticking bomb" is pretty well discredited; Djerejian did a number on that in several posts.

Your last remarks are poetic, if cryptic; I'll await clarification before responding to them.
6.25.2007 3:35pm
Dave N (mail):
Jukeboxgrad,

If your point was that conservatives also sometimes say loathesome things, I do not disagree--and I will call them on it if I see it. I found your example a poor one because the topic selected by EV encouraged that trope. John Herbison irked me today because this is the second time he has used the oh, so clever "Uncle Thomas" slur against Justice Thomas--which I argued the first time he used it was an example of liberal racism.

So if your point is that conservatives will sometimes offensive things on this blog, you are right--and I acknowledge it. If you want me to retract that one sentence from my second post on the subject, I will.

Now, can you acknowledge that Herbison's comments were offensive?
6.25.2007 3:36pm
Smokey:
To the posters who jumped on the speculation that the Orwell quote may not have been by Orwell, you sound like spelling nazis critiquing the Declaration of Independence: You've missed the entire point.
6.25.2007 3:59pm
nrein1 (mail):
The thing that stuck me when reading this piece and when reading some of the comments is that Cheney and others have ignored what to me is the second most important question to be asked (the first is, are our actions moral) is do these tactics make us safer? I am fairly convinced of the fact that torture (or extreme interrogations) does not produce any more information then other tactics which we presumbly previously used because they were effective. Further they make us less safe by makign our enemies believe that we are as evil as they say we are.
6.25.2007 4:18pm
John Herbison (mail):
So now Dave N is a bit more specific as to which exposed nerve that I struck. As I have pointed out more than once before, Clarence Thomas's appointment to his present position is the product of toadying and cronyism--with a healthy dose of racialism ("This is a high-tech lynching" differs in form, but not in substance, from Johnny Cochran's "This is an outrage" cry about O.J. Simpson's trial) added into the mix.

Actually, Justice Thomas has been a better jurist that I had expected that he would be. Opinions such as U.S. v. Bajakadjian, 524 U.S. 321 (1998), show a healthy, if too infrequent, skepticism about governmental abuses of power. When it comes to installing or preserving Rethuglicans in positions of authority, however, Thomas and his cohorts in the Gang of Five follow the maxim sadly recognized by Thomas's predecessor: "Power, not reason, is the . . . currency of this Court's decisionmaking." Payne v. Tennessee, 505 U.S. 808, 844 (1991) (Marshall, J., dissenting).

Bush v. Gore belongs in the Supreme Court Hall of Shameful Decisions alongside Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Korematsu v. United States. The kind of perverse decision-making that underlay the Bush administration's accession to power created the environment which spawned the torture policies.
6.25.2007 5:11pm
Orielbean (mail):
The real joke about the Orwell quote - Churchill is really the person who spoke closest to the actual quote in question. That sounds more like Churchill, but works for Orwell too. Remember that he picked up arms to fight for the Spanish in the war against Franco.
6.25.2007 5:24pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Remember that he picked up arms to fight for the Spanish in the war against Franco.

I think Franco was Spanish too ....

Actually, the quote sounds to me a bit like a line from The Fellowship of the Ring about the citizens of Bree, tho I can't remember whether it's Gandalf or Aragorn who says it ...

Orwell, at any rate, was not famous for favoring uncivilized methods; he would've criticized the hypocrisy, not used it as a basis for argument.
6.25.2007 5:29pm
Kieran (mail) (www):
Smokey:

In case you've forgotten so quickly, Islamists have routinely stated that they intend to kill us. They mean it.

And:

you sound like spelling nazis critiquing the Declaration of Independence: You've missed the entire point.

OK, on the merits then: the idea that Al Qaeda as an organization is a serious threat to the United States is a joke. Terrorist atrocities -- even something on the horrible scale of 9/11 -- cannot undermine a country as big and powerful as this one by themselves. Which isn't to say that they can't provoke a reaction from those in power that does amount to a serious threat. And if you want a good quote to make the point, try this judgment from British Law Lord Lord Hoffman from a few years ago:

This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. The Spanish people have not said that what happened in Madrid, hideous crime as it was, threatened the life of their nation. Their legendary pride would not allow it. Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community….
[S]uch a power in any form is not compatible with our constitution. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory.
6.25.2007 5:29pm
LM (mail):
jukeboxgrad:

Anyway, what's your latest point? That conservatives are superior because their hate-filled remarks are (allegedly) more likely to be on-topic? Is staying on-topic a higher value than avoiding hatefulness? Is hatefullness inoffensive as long as it's on-topic? All this is quite novel.

I don't find any of those (i.e., ideology, logical continuity or even hatefulness) a useful measure of incivility. I would suggest that among the things civil discourse does exclude are unsupported attacks on the person, his character and his motives. The comment you quoted starts out with a fair, though I think incorrect assertion that everything done to oppose Bush or the war helps our enemies. It concludes by calling the war critics traitors, which fails the civility test because it presumes, among other things, knowledge of their motives. John Herbison's condemnation of Rehnquist, et al, likewise jumps to moral conclusions, but I think it sinks even lower when it resorts to mockery.

You may think that when it comes to giving personal offense, mockery adds little or nothing to character assassination. Usually I'd agree, but when the question is civility of discourse, tenor is as important as content, and mockery sets its own very low tone. Let me make this point a different way. You say you think Dave is "disingenuously backpedaling." On its face this could be a breach of civility. It does, after all, question his motives for raising the on topic/off topic distinction. (For all you know, Dave isn't sure himself why one comment offends him so much more than the other. He could be merely struggling out loud to find an answer.) But to my eye, although the content of your suggestion skirts the line, it is saved by tone. Read in context, it's clear that you are making serious arguments, so if a passing phrase is questionable, it at least gets my benefit of the doubt.

Obviously John Herbison's original flame -- he has since embarked on his own backpedaling -- deserves no such benefit, consisting only of insults unredeemed by even the slightest attempt to argue a point. And by that measure, Dave is at least partially right, however wobbly his reasoning. Yes, I'll bet there are plenty of examples on this site of Conservative incivility as bad as John Herbison's, but his comment was certainly worse than the example you offered.
6.25.2007 5:58pm
whackjobbbb:
Anderson,

Here's a current link in more contemporary Abu Graib terms that you may find interesting, which references the WWII era Fort Hunt interrogation center I mentioned.

I've read quite a lot about Fort Hunt, and the Office of Naval Intelligence's role there, which was special and unique from Army Intelligence and the FBI's roles in these matters. Historical works refer to FDR's assignment of Naval Intelligence to activities related to the Navy's "special intelligence requirements" in this regard, although I doubt you'll find FDR's archives calling out specifically for torture, any more than you'll find Hitler calling out specifically for Auschwitz. However, Geneva was violated, clearly. And we know that Admiral Stark was a part of FDR's inner political circle, and that the lapdog Stark made Gonzalez look like a snarling doberman in comparison... so we know which side Stark woulda fallen out on. The evidence, although lacking today's wonderful photography, is compelling. Fort Hunt was a clear violation of international law and practice.

Additionally, a quick internet search discloses one tourist website that references the illegal nature of Fort Hunt. And we have this quote "During World War II, Fort Hunt was again pressed into military service as an interrogation center for captured German submarine crews. The German sailors were brought here, kept in cells outfitted with listening devices, and interrogated -- only then were they transferred to a regular prison camp and reported as captured to the International Red Cross."
.

There are many sources to demonstrate, at minimum, that the US government did not adhere to Geneva in the handling of the U-boat POW's in particular, that's clear. I guess I'm still wondering, do you think today's CIA actions represent a clear departure from these historical precedents?

Yes, I believe KSM cracked in less than one minute, and other independent sources familiar with waterboarding methodology confirm this, so we need not rely on the evil Bush/Cheney tandem's word. Coupled with other interrogation methods... it works... so we'll have to look elsewhere for reasons to fight against this... if we choose to depart from historical precedent. And yes, there are cases when imminent threats exist, so you'll have to answer this question too... should we employ these methods in such a case?

Perhaps my remarks are cryptic... and poetic... but the rantings of the BDSers are boring... and the only contribution I have for them is to make them think a bit, which they clearly aren't doing. Like I say, the BDSers will be out of their misery in a short while, but the problems remain... and I wonder if we'll be applying the lessons of our past history to these problems... or will these useless rants just continue apace?
6.25.2007 7:46pm
John Herbison (mail):
When the subject is torture, when the moral authority of our nation has been rent asunder, when illegitimate rulers do evil in the name of fighting evil, how is civility a virtue?

The Republican who proclaimed in San Francisco in 1964 that "Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue," was no liberal. (Neither did he have "other priorities in the '60s than military service", unlike a later Vice-President.)
6.25.2007 9:11pm
rfg:
I would like to offer two points of interest:

1. The fact that the United States has engaged in imroper behavior in the past is no excuse. Fifty or sixty years ago, it would have been against US law and policy for me to have the career I enjoy, or to have the wife that I love. We are supposed to learn from the past and improve on it, not enshrine it as some unchanging, perfect ideal.

2. You can argue back and forth about the effectiveness of torture until the cows come home and not really come to a consensus. What is curiously missing in the discussion is the effect of these techniques on us. Remember, at some point this "war" will be over. These techniques will spil over into the society as a whole, much as the "drug war" exeptions have started to creep out. Is this what we want?
6.25.2007 9:33pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Interesting stuff on Fort Hunt, whackjobbb; I've compiled your links into a post at my little-visited blog.

I don't think anyone sensible has any doubts that all governments do bad things, America's included. What counts is our willingness to face up to it &to see what can be done to punish those who do them and to prevent their happening again.

While your cynicism is hardly unjustified, I don't think it's "CDS" or "BDS" to want to see the architects of America's torture cells brought to answer in a court of justice. Rather, I think it's important that we be true to the Constitution that these men have betrayed.
6.25.2007 10:12pm
Hoosier:
The spurious Orwell quote /does/strike me as something he could have said, especially if one has read, e.g., his essay on Kipling. Note his quoting of Kipling's line (this is from memory, so not an exact quote): 'You mock the uniform that protects you while you sleep.' This is Kipling's formulation. But Orwell call our attention to it. And it expresses a sentiment rather similar to the one expressed in 'pseudo-Orwell', to wit, don't despise the 'rough men' upon whom you rely for your own safety.
6.25.2007 10:19pm
Randy R. (mail):
Its' rather obvious to me that the whole point of torture is torture. IN other words, it has nothing to do with getting information from someone, but instead is a way to punish people we don't like.

And the comments here support that. After all, these are people who want to kill us. "Not one person in a million" will decry the radical Islamists. In other words, these are all really really bad people. And so it's okay to torture them for any reason or for no reason. The point of torture is to torture, nothing more, nothing less.
6.25.2007 10:47pm
whackjobbbb:
Anderson,

That's the whole point. "Torture" and Korematsu ARE enshrined in our law... for many, many years... and you can't "prosecute" people, not even the hated Bush/Cheney tandem... for doing what it is that we do and have done as a matter of course, for many years. Or perhaps we should go dig up Roosevelt and Stark (and Hoover and Marshall and Hugo Black... and... and...) and put them on trial today, too?

You're allowing your BDS to obscure this reality... and flailing away impotently at your political enemy... to no good effect. This ain't the evil Bush/Cheney twins... this is our history... this is what we are today... and if you want to change what we are... then do so. But your BDS can't be a part of that, and has no contributions towards it. If you want to see the problem here... do what I suggested (cryptically and poetically) earlier on... look in the mirror.
6.25.2007 10:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
It's all so interesting. People who bitch and moan about activist judges making decisions that the population doesnt like have absolutely no problem with Cheney making a unilaterial decision to withdraw from the Geneva Conventions and authorize torture.

Why is it? Why aren't people upset that if our country is going to do an about face regarding torture, shouldn't 'the people' know about it? Shouldn't we have a say in it? Shoudln't this be up for public debate? Shouldn't we vote on it?

Oh no. Not a single person says that this should be a subject for public debate, let alone public vote. Trust Dick Cheney -- he knows what's best for you.
6.25.2007 11:06pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Whack, my friend, what is your point?

(1) That because we've been bad, we have to go on being bad?

(2) Or that because we've been bad, it's not really bad?

I don't "flail away" at Bush et al. re: torture, etc., because they're my political enemies. I don't actually have much interest in politics as a rule. Rather, they're my political enemies, and I take an unwonted interest in them, because they've endorsed torture, gotten us into a damn-fool Mesopotamian quagmire, etc.
6.25.2007 11:09pm
whackjobbbb:
We had a public vote, Randy. I read Taguba's report in January 2004... and you read it 4 months later when the CNN marketing programmers got ahold of those sensational photographs and figured it'd sell you some soda pop... so they spooned it out to you. But eventually, we ALL knew about it... then we voted the first Tuesday that November... and the evil Cheney got in, because 63,000,000 people said so.
6.25.2007 11:11pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
But eventually, we ALL knew about it... then we voted the first Tuesday that November... and the evil Cheney got in, because 63,000,000 people said so.

This gives the media far too much credit. Most people don't know what we've been doing; don't know the details of the torture issue; don't know that the MCA was passed in part to immunize Cheney et al. from prosecution for their possible crimes.

Instead, we got endless coverage on exactly how far upriver Kerry's boat went, etc., etc. What the media did to Gore in 2000 and to Kerry in 2004 -- guys whose social skills, however lacking, are scarcely inferior to Bush's -- will amaze those future historians who peer into the matter.
6.26.2007 12:01am
Anderson (mail) (www):
(My conflation of the 2004 campaign &the 2006 MCA is doubtless due to CDS, and not to fatigue, excessive squinting at PDF documents, or cognitive dissonance at switching between blogs and a particularly dismal appellate brief I'm writing.)
6.26.2007 12:09am
Randy R. (mail):
Our country is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, and that was ratified by the US congress. If we now want to repudiate any portion of that treaty, don't we take a vote on it in the US congress? You can't just have one member of the US gov't saying that portions of a treaty no longer bind the US. You can't do that without a vote.

Yes, we voted Bush in to office, but that did not give him carte blanche to do whatever he liked. What's the point of the congress, then? Our founders specifically appointed them as the legislators -- the ones who make law. Cheney cannot make or unmake law, however it pleases him.

If you want to change the law on torture, then let's have a vote on it in congress. What do you have to be afraid of?
6.26.2007 12:56am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "For the good of humanity, Islam must be destroyed."

Did I tune into stormfront by mistake? I could have sworn this was the VC channel.

I guess you're the audience Dubya had in mind when he used the term "crusade" (more than once).

I'll pretend for a moment that you're talking about the idea, not the people. If you then extend your thinking to include every religion that was ever used as an excuse for atrocities, you'll have arrived at where John Lennon was when he wrote a famous song.

"As George Orwell said"

This isn't the first time you've demonstrated that you have a thing for phony quotes.

"To the posters who jumped on the speculation that the Orwell quote may not have been by Orwell"

What a joke. You insist on still calling it "the Orwell quote," even though there's a distinct absence of evidence that "the Orwell quote" is an Orwell quote. It's phony, like your Hillary quote. The "speculation" is all yours, except that it's way too generous to call what you're doing "speculation."

"you sound like spelling nazis critiquing the Declaration of Independence: You've missed the entire point"

Ah, fake but accurate. Anyway, your so-called "point" has now been addressed multiple times.

"It is that very violence that keeps you safe."

Some people think that being human is important, along with being safe. You, on the other hand, seem to think that humanity doesn't mean much. Tell us again how you are different from our enemies?
6.26.2007 3:17am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
rich: "one's culture and very existence are threatened"

We have the most powerful military in the world, by a wide margin (our defense budget roughly equals the rest of the world combined), and you're shaking in your boots because of some nuts in a cave. Your inflated sense of victimhood and weakness is beyond remarkable. Given that you feel the rest of world is such a great threat to us, see if you can try to imagine how the rest of the world feels about us.

Our ability to destroy ourselves (and we've indeed taken important steps in that direction) greatly exceeds what anyone else can do to us. Kieran presented eloquent text on this point, here.
6.26.2007 3:22am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "none of what they've [Bush et al] done is irreversible"

Families of roughly 30,000 US killed and wounded might feel differently.

"the US Navy operated a little detention facility accepting captured U-boat crewmen"

It's always refreshing to see Bushists taking a break from the familiar 'but Clinton (allegedly) did it.' Thanks for treating us to the also-popular 'FDR (allegedly) did it.' Why not also try to hide behind George Washington? Surely he also must have sodomized some Royalists with chemical light-sticks, or raped female detainees.

"General Taguba's IG report made this very clear... that the Army policy was to operate by Geneva... by the book"

Really? His report is here (pdf). Tell us where you find support for the statement you made. In fact, Taguba found that multiple officers were guilty of "failing to ensure that Soldiers … knew and understood the protections afforded to detainees in the Geneva Convention." Taguba also recently said that "senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies." I guess it's time to swiftboat him.

The very current (6/25/07) and relevant update from Taguba is here.
6.26.2007 3:25am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "If your point was that conservatives also sometimes say loathesome things, I do not disagree"

The tune you're singing now is distinctly different from the one you were singing before ("please point to a single conservative post--just one").

"I found your example a poor one because the topic selected by EV encouraged that trope."

The fact that this loathsome remark happened to be on-topic doesn't mean that EV "encouraged" it, and it doesn't make the remark the slightest bit less loathsome.

"I will call them on it if I see it"

You are claiming to be universally intolerant of loathsome remarks, but in the same breath you're bending over backwards to make excuses for, and minimize the loathsomeness of, the one I cited.

"this is the second time he has used the oh, so clever 'Uncle Thomas' slur against Justice Thomas--which I argued the first time he used it was an example of liberal racism"

Either I can't find your post you're talking about (even though I've looked pretty carefully), or you don't understand the difference between making an assertion and making an argument. What you said here is the former, not the latter. On the other hand, Herbison defended his claim with an actual argument, here (in a different thread).

"if your point is that conservatives will sometimes offensive things on this blog, you are right--and I acknowledge it"

Your earlier statement was an attempt to do anything but that. You only "acknowledge it" after I repeatedly hit you in the head with a 2x4.

"If you want me to retract that one sentence from my second post on the subject, I will."

That's a nice offer, but it would be much more impressive if you had not presented it as a last resort after discovering that your disingenuous, repeated tap-dancing (here and here) had failed.

"can you acknowledge that Herbison's comments were offensive"

No.
6.26.2007 3:29am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
lm: "among the things civil discourse does exclude are unsupported attacks on the person, his character and his motives"

Thanks for the very clear thinking and writing that went into your post.

I completely agree, and the key word is "unsupported."

"Herbison's condemnation of Rehnquist, et al, … jumps to moral conclusions"

Herbison expressed moral conclusions, but I don't think he "jumps" to them. It's true that he didn't bother to elucidate his reasoning (in his original post), but I think even a slight glance at his track record shows that he's ready and willing to do so.

"I think it sinks even lower when it resorts to mockery … mockery sets its own very low tone"

Mockery has a place. In my opinion, mockery, like "attacks on the person, his character and his motives," is a problem only when unsupported.

"It does, after all, question his motives for raising the on topic/off topic distinction."

Indeed.

"For all you know, Dave isn't sure himself why one comment offends him so much more than the other."

I appreciate your very thorough, deliberate (and civil) analysis on this point.

In my opinion, you're giving Dave too much credit. It's very often hard to tell if someone is being dumb or dishonest (or both), but I think a careful review of the relevant posts points more toward the latter. This has a lot to do with his ostensible obtuseness in resisting what I patiently explained multiple times.

"Herbison … has since embarked on his own backpedaling"

In my opinion, what appears here is purely argument and explanation, without a trace of backpedaling.

"Herbison's original flame … [consists] only of insults unredeemed by even the slightest attempt to argue a point"

In my opinion, insults are fine as long as the insulter is willing and able to justify them. Obviously, the original short remark didn't bother to include that justification, but I think the justification was implied, and I think Herbison has shown (in this thread and elsewhere) that, when challenged, he is willing to defend his claims with argumentation and fact. Unlike the classic trollish insulter, who cuts and runs, when challenged.

"by that measure, Dave is at least partially right, however wobbly his reasoning"

I think Dave would be wholly right (to complain about Herbison's remark) if Herbison dropped a bomb and scrammed (or ignored counterarguments, which amounts to the same thing). That's a troll. But that's not Herbison's track record, as far as I can tell, in this thread or elsewhere.

"I'll bet there are plenty of examples on this site of Conservative incivility as bad as John Herbison's"

Dave expressly claimed otherwise ("please point to a single conservative post--just one"), and put up a great deal of resistance when challenged on that claim. That's been my key point, in this subtopic.

"his comment was certainly worse than the example you offered"

I disagree. Herbison named eight people and insulted them. In my opinion, the insult is earned. True, in his short remark he didn't explain why, but the explanation was implied, and also explicitly available in various places from him and others, like here. Here's something "certainly worse" than this: suggesting that the 60-70% of the country that is anti-Bush are traitors, and that this is something we should not "allow," and that the appropriate response is to suspend civil rights.
6.26.2007 3:34am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "I've read quite a lot about Fort Hunt … There are many sources to demonstrate, at minimum, that the US government did not adhere to Geneva in the handling of the U-boat POW's"

If there are "many sources" then it's hard to understand why the three you cited say almost nothing.

"do you think today's CIA actions represent a clear departure from these historical precedents"

Yes, since you haven't presented anything remotely resembling evidence of torture or abuse, under FDR. I would be surprised if none happened, but it's striking to note how lame your "proof" is.

"I read Taguba's report in January 2004... and you read it 4 months later when the CNN marketing programmers got ahold of those sensational photographs"

Really? "January 2004?" That's quite stunning, since Taguba wasn't appointed until 1/31/04 (pdf, p. 6):

On 31 January 2004, the Commander, CFLCC, appointed MG Antonio M. Taguba, Deputy Commanding General Support, CFLCC, to conduct this investigation.


And he didn't finish the report until early March (p. 14):

On 29 February we finalized our executive summary and out-briefing slides. On 9 March we submitted the AR 15-6 written report with findings and recommendations to the CFLCC Deputy SJA, LTC Mark Johnson, for a legal sufficiency review.


The report was originally classified (for reasons that were never explained). It wasn't leaked to the public until 5/04.

Thanks for the laugh.

"the evil Cheney got in, because 63,000,000 people said so"

Everyone is entitled to a few mistakes. Grownups learn from their mistakes, take responsibility, and move on. Other folks tell tall tales to promote the idea that the mistake wasn't really a mistake.

By the way, the correct number is 62, not 63. That was less than 51% of the total vote, and a 2.46% advantage over Kerry. A stunning victory margin. Mandate!

And here are the number of times Bush's approval rating has ever exceeded 50% on any major poll, subsequent to 3/05: zero. So his mandate was not just large: it was durable.
6.26.2007 3:43am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier: "don't despise the 'rough men' upon whom you rely for your own safety"

It's certainly wrong to despise them. It's also wrong to call on them to give up more of their humanity than the job actually requires. Just like it's wrong for us to look the other way while their leaders behave like thugs. When we do so we disgrace and abandon the vast majority of soldiers who are honorable.
6.26.2007 3:46am
Hoosier:
jukebox--Note the context: I was comparing pseudo-Orwell to a canonical Orwell quote. In response to another poster who implied that St. George wouldn't have said something like that. In fact, he did say something like that.

I agree with everything you say in your above post, but find it incredible that you don't think Herbison's post was out-of-line for this blog.
6.26.2007 10:59am
Anderson (mail) (www):
Herbison made unkind remarks about politicians; Smokey called for the destruction of Islam.

Who's gotten more flak on this thread?
6.26.2007 11:26am
Hoosier:
Anderson--Do I have this straight?

Jurists=Politicians

Condemning to Hell=Unkind Remarks

Dante's 'Comedia Divina'--Book One:
'Il Scorteseo'(Exerpt)

And I found that Hell was an unpleasant place;
Not unlike Yougstown, Ohio in the 1980s.
The lost souls were kind of rude and crude.
Virgil said: Not the kind of place
you want to bring the kids for vacation, eh?
6.26.2007 12:31pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Hoosier, "politicians" is too broad but Bush and Cheney are not "jurists," either.

Wishing people to hell is indeed an unkind remark, rarely meant literally ("to hell with you"); if it were meant literally, it would still be an unkind remark.

I admire the Dante parody nonetheless.
6.26.2007 12:46pm
Dave N (mail):
Jukeboxgrad,

You seem to know my motives better than I do--accusing me of disingenuousness. What I was guilty of is hyperbole. Twice in this thread. I acknowledge that but you still cast aspersions at my motives. You refuse to acknowledge that I was not the only commentator who thought Herbison was out of line.

But you showed your true motives (which assuredly was not civility) by saying you agreed with him.

I will not post further on this thread, so you can have the self-righteous last word if that is what you want.
6.26.2007 1:14pm
Hoosier:
Why can't /I/ have the self-righteous last word?
6.26.2007 4:05pm
Smokey:
Dave N:

Right on target re jukey, who also snivels about the veracity of quotes that he can not prove weren't said by Hillary or Orwell, so he is implying that he knows a fact not evidenced. Hillary's quote, "We are the president!" was instantly reported following the subpoena, and a quick search provides lots of hits commenting on her statement. And the Orwell quote is found -- guess where? -- under "George Orwell Quotes."

Finally, re my comment, For the good of humanity, Islam must be destroyed, I stand by that assertion, and I reject jukeboy's mendacious insinuation that my statement equates with condoning mass murder. It is the religion of Islam that must be destroyed. Islam is a religion, got it?

As Cato would certainly have said, "Islam delenda est!!"
6.26.2007 4:07pm
Hoosier:
Well, you know what Cato wanted to do to Carthage, right?

And look what happened to Carthage. So Muslims might be worried about your intended methods, despite what you've just written.

And since I'm the one who first raised the pseudo-Orwell issue: WHERE did he write this quote? It won't do to find it in a list of quotes. Give me a citation. I've read a big pile of Orwell, and have never encountered the quote, which is well-known for being a quote-that-is-not-a-quote.
6.26.2007 4:45pm
Smokey:
Hoosier:

Trying to box me in there, are ya? Well, nice try.

Let me turn things around for you. Since I got the Orwell quote from a site called George Orwell Quotes, then it's up to you to prove he didn't say it or write it. Good luck with that.

And:

So Muslims might be worried about your intended methods, despite what you've just written.

This fits in with your stated desire to put unspoken words into the mouths of others, and to deny the quotes of others because you want to presume they never said the words.

As posted above, the religion of Islam is the problem -- whether it's located in a sand kingdom, in Bali, or in the UK. It is dominated by bloodthirsty Imams, who issue murderous fatwas against innocent people, and not one Islamist in ten million -- literally -- will publicly repudiate their fellow nail-bomb enablers. Getting a single Imam to renounce Islamic violence and mass murder is harder than getting Nancy Pelosi to renounce William Jefferson's corruption.

Besides, I don't give a damn about whether or not Muzzies are worried about my putative 'intended methods.' You're welcome to do the worrying about them for both of us.
6.26.2007 5:43pm
Colin (mail):
Since I got the Orwell quote from a site called George Orwell Quotes, then it's up to you to prove he didn't say it or write it.

If it's on a website, then it must be true. They don't let you print just anything on the internet.
6.26.2007 6:09pm
Hoosier:
Smokey--

Your penetrating intellect has bested me. Since it's on the web, we /must/ presume that it's true. So there's no reason for you to do your homework.

Or . . . /is/ there?

REAL HONEST-TO-GOD TOTALLY TRUE ORWELL QUOTES:

"Any guy named Smokey needs a course in basic logic." (There, now. It's on the web, under an Orwell-Quotes label. It's up to you to prove he didn't say it. "Good luck with that.")
6.26.2007 6:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier: "I was comparing pseudo-Orwell to a canonical Orwell quote."

I understand. I didn't mean to create the impression that I was disagreeing with anything you said. I apologize for not being more careful to avoid creating such an impression. Your clear paraphrase was just a useful chance for me to make a point about the quote, a point that was not really addressed at you.

"In response to another poster who implied that St. George wouldn't have said something like that."

I think the comment you're talking about is this. I think I interpreted that comment a little differently than you did, but it's probably not terribly interesting or helpful to nail this down.

I agree that it sounds like something that Orwell 'could' have said (i.e., your comment re Kipling makes sense to me), but I have a sore spot with quotes that are 'fake but (allegedly) accurate,' especially because Smokey, as I noted, already has a track record with phony quotes.

"find it incredible that you don't think Herbison's post was out-of-line for this blog"

Anderson said it better than I could.

Also, I think I explained my reasoning. I would be interested in your counter-reasoning, which you didn't provide, but I also hesitate to drag us further down that particular branch, which I think has already gotten plenty of attention.

I think being 'nice' is overrated. It often amounts to a way to avoid being real, which is something we need much more of. Gratuitous offensiveness is unacceptable, but I also have no use for gratuitous niceness. It's pernicious.

"Jurists=Politicians"

When jurists decide that their job description includes appointing presidents, yes, then I think it's fair to lump together the jurists and the politicians.

"Condemning to Hell=Unkind Remarks"

Indeed. I think 'go to hell,' 'go fuck yourself,' and 'drop dead' are fairly indistinguishable from each other as garden-variety statements of extreme personal scorn. Nothing to get too worked up about, provided you're not addressing, say, the Queen or the Pope. In contrast, here are some things that I think are worth getting worked up about: calling for the genocide of a billion people. Or suggesting that anyone who votes D is committing "overt treason," and that we shouldn't "allow" such a thing, and that we should suspend civil liberties to prevent it. And I have to again point out that this is what we casually call "conservative" thought, without a trace of irony. True conservatives are taking note of what the GOP has become.

"Why can't /I/ have the self-righteous last word?"

Good point. Why can't we all? We figured out how to put a man on the moon, so we should be clever enough to figure out how to let everyone have the self-righteous last word.
6.26.2007 6:35pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
anderson: "Bush and Cheney are not 'jurists,' either"

I'm surprised you forgot: by process of elimination, we have determined that Cheney is part of the judicial branch.
6.26.2007 6:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dave: "You seem to know my motives better than I do"

I can only guess at your motives, but there's such a thing as an educated guess.

"What I was guilty of is hyperbole"

Well, not really, and this remark of yours is itself a form of hyperbole. Please consider these three statements:

A) Conservatives here are never as offensive as H (allegedly) was

B) Conservatives here are sometimes as offensive as H (allegedly) was, but offenders are nevertheless typically liberals

C) It's a two-way street, and the traffic is roughly balanced

What you originally claimed was A. When you now assert that A was merely "hyperbole," you're essentially saying you intended to say B. Why? Because A is a hyperbolic version of B. It seems to me that A is not a hyperbolic version of C, because A and C are fundamentally different.

As far as I can tell, you're simply now backpedaling from A to B. B is a fair position to take, provided you can prove it. Trouble is, you haven't done that.

Anyway, aside from the offensiveness of claiming A, you compounded the problem by pretending you didn't understand why there was a problem, and treating us to an extended irrelevant riff regarding the alleged importance of staying on-topic. How ironic.

And now that you've discovered you can't sell A, you seem to be trying to peddle B, even though it's only marginally less offensive than A. Especially since you're presenting B sans proof (and my educated guess is that you're not ready, willing or able to provide proof).

Anyway, speaking of hyperbole, I think it's ironic to notice that you could have reacted to Herbison's original remark by writing it off as hyperbole.

"I acknowledge that but you still cast aspersions at my motives."

As I've explained, your so-called 'acknowledgment' would be much more impressive if it had not been preceded by lots of kicking and squirming. Also, as I've explained, your 'acknowledgement' is further degraded by the fact that you merely seem to be moving from A to B, i.e., replacing one indefensible, offensive claim with another claim that is only marginally less offensive and indefensible.

Anyway, maybe you really are now saying C, after all. Perhaps you'll let us know. Then we can marvel at the amount of tooth-pulling that was required to get you to truly withdraw your unreasonable statement and replace it, in a clear and unequivocal manner, with a reasonable one.

"You refuse to acknowledge that I was not the only commentator who thought Herbison was out of line"

Now you're utterly and completely full of it, since I have never made any claims regarding H's popularity here. And, frankly, neither have you, until just now. You're suggesting that you and I have had the following conversation:

D: haven't you noticed that other people here support my position, that Herbison was out of line?
J: no, you're dead-wrong, I can plainly see that no one here supports your position.

Obviously, you and I have never had such a conversation. I can plainly see that one or more people here support your position, more-or-less, and I have never claimed otherwise, and I have never "refuse[d] to acknowledge" any such thing. Why are you making things up?

Anyway, for the record, now that you mention it, I don't think that putting such a thing to a vote is terribly helpful.

"But you showed your true motives (which assuredly was not civility)"

When I have to choose between being real and being civil, I will almost always prefer the former. If you can show where I have failed to be real (i.e., base my assertions on fact and reason), that would be helpful. I've done that for you, so the 'civil' thing would be to return the favor.

"self-righteous"

Here's a good definition of "self-righteous:" calling someone a "troll" (three times), even though you're not really in a position to support that accusation with fact.
6.26.2007 6:36pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "who also snivels about the veracity of quotes that he can not prove weren't said by Hillary or Orwell"

Good one! Say, did you hear what Dubya said? Here it is: "hey Karl, don't forget to meet me at Jeff Gannon's party so we can rape Girl Scouts and torture kittens."

And did you hear what smokey said? Here it is: "I can't wait to get home so I can beat my wife and kids!"

Presumably you are not going to 'snivel' about the 'veracity' of these quotes. Then again, maybe you intend to prove that they weren't actually said. Because in the absence of such proof, we should assume they're real, right?

"he is implying that he knows a fact not evidenced"

Here's the fact "not evidenced:" that Hillary said what you claimed she said.

"Hillary's quote, 'We are the president!' was instantly reported following the subpoena"

Really? "Reported" where? In an anonymous comment somewhere in freeperville?

By the way, one of the key pages promoting your phony Hillary quote is here, and it's interesting to note that this page contains a bunch of other phony quotes. There are several dozen quotes on this page. This is how many times Hawkins provides an external URL: zero. This is how many times Hawkins indicates the name of a news organization that allegedly reported the quote: four. This is how many times Hawkins bothers to indicate the exact day a quote was said: zero.

That's why we love the GOP: when the facts are against it, it invents some new ones. Or manifests some forged documents. Or lies to the FBI. Whatever it takes.

"a quick search provides lots of hits commenting on her statement"

Indeed. Which proves only that the GOP has lots of other people just like you, who are perfectly happy to promote phony quotes.

"the Orwell quote is found -- guess where? -- under 'George Orwell Quotes.' "

I guess that settles everything, then. Thanks for letting me know that all I have to do to prove the veracity of my Dubya-Gannon-kittens quote is set up a web page called "George Bush Quotes, certified genuine by some unknown blogger." Likewise for the quote about smokey beating up his family.

"I reject jukeboy's mendacious insinuation that my statement equates with condoning mass murder. It is the religion of Islam that must be destroyed."

Be careful with that 'jukeboy' business. Dave or someone might jump in and accuse you of incivility, or mockery. I'm not holding my breath, though.

You're repeatedly ducking a simple question: how do you kill a religion without killing a bunch of religionists? Wait a minute, I've got an idea. Maybe we just have to keep on slaughtering them until it dawns on them that Christianity, not Islam, is the true religion of peace.

By the way, you're using the same exact dodge used by Ahmadinejad. He says he doesn't want to kill Jews; he only wants to overthrow the Zionist regime. See? No one gets hurt. Just simple regime change.

You should let us know why we should consider your evasion more convincing than his.
6.26.2007 6:37pm
Smokey:

You're repeatedly ducking a simple question: how do you kill a religion without killing a bunch of religionists?

It takes someone mighty dense to not understand what 'outlawing' a religion means, so I'll leave you in your state of total bliss. For the others, there's no need to explain that Islam should be illegal, -- same as NAMBLA should be. But that's another thread.

So please continue frantically typing [~20 or so l-o-n-g, rambling and nitpicking posts in this thread alone! What a life, huh? Your partners must be very impressed.] Obfuscating and parsing every sentence must give you lotsa thrills & chills. Well, have at it, boy. This post alone should give you hours of feverish daydreams [''Come the revolution *cracking knuckles* they will pay! They! Will! PAY!'']

Want to make some sense for once? Respond directly to Orwell's statement, without the usual ad hominems over the citation -- that's an argument you need to have with the people who posted the quotes originally. And unless you have some sort of proof, rather than just an opinion, that Orwell/Hitlery didn't say the words... well, so sorry, you lose that argument.

The meaning of the words is the reason for all quotes. Wild eyed arm-waving over who might or might not have said what is obviously a deliberate attempt to avoid debating the meaning of the George Orwell quote.

So you have your fun furiously typing away, imagining you're heroically slaying the dragon. Heh.
6.26.2007 7:36pm
whackjobbbb:
Juke,

Sorry, but as mentioned, Taguba's report SPECIFICALLY pointed out that the Army was to operate by Geneva at Abu Graib. Sorry you haven't been able to uncover this plain writing, in your obviously intensive reviews of that report. And failure to adhere to the above requirements was behind the Army's appointment of Taguba to his task... which I would have thought woulda been intuitively obvious to even a BDSer, but I guess not.

And I didn't say that Taguba's report was available to you in January 2004... just that it was available to me... and all those of us who read, reviewed and corresponded on it... in January 2004. Nice timeline... very BDS/CDS driven stuff... but immaterial to the discussion at hand.

--

Randy/Anderson,

We had an election in 2004, and these issues were well vented. We've also had Congressional votes, several of them since then... and these matters have been approved by Congress... many of them. My Senator... Stabenow... in the midst of her reelection campaign last year... voted alongside the "evil" Bush on one or more of them.

As mentioned, the things we're discussing here are a part of our history... our law... our tradition. They are enshrined in all of these... and continue to be so today... unless you somehow think the lefty Stabenow is a part of this evil neocon cabal. The BDSers can continue to flail... but understand that this flailing is a statement about you... and nobody else. If you want to understand the problem here... look in the mirror.

Hey, I'm down with looking even more comprehensively at any of this... but undortunately, the BDSers won't be a useful part of that discussion... by their own choice.
--


I can answer your questions posed above, Anderson, but not until we've engaged in proper process... informed process. 'Til then, to use the lawyer's lingo... we don't reach the merits of your argument... and my guess is that the BDSers won't ever advance to that point.


--

Shortly, I'll post more on this... not to the BDSers... but rather, I've got some other observations concerning our lawyer types... and the shallow, vapid nature of the discussion here concerning these important topics. Reading the above crap... I'm just disgusted.
6.26.2007 8:41pm
Hoosier:
The "reason for all quotes" may also be to give the weight of authority to one's opinion by associating it with an authority. So, yeah, it's important to be certain that the authority is the source of the quote. Orwell wrote so much, and is so quotable, that there's not much excuse for making up quotes by him. Just go find one in his "Collected Essays."

(Sorry to be a bit of a jerk about this. But Orwell, Oakeshott, R. Aron, J-F Revel, Montaigne, Joachim Fest . . .--each is a hero to me And I'm very protective of their legacies.)

Jukebox--Don't slam all of us GOPers. My senior Senator, Dick Lugar, is still making me proud.
6.27.2007 1:11am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "I didn't say that Taguba's report was available to you in January 2004... just that it was available to me... and all those of us who read, reviewed and corresponded on it... in January 2004"

It's been obvious for years that the GOP is packed with liars, but it's always helpful to have another screamingly blatant example.

Thanks for providing such a helpful illustration of the dumb vs. dishonest puzzle I mentioned earlier. The first time you made this startling claim (that you possess a time-travel device which enabled you to read Taguba's report before it existed), it was possible for an overly generous reader to suppose that you were just making a lazy, ignorant mistake. But now you're sticking with your glaring falsehood, even though I presented very clear proof that it's a falsehood. This means you're not just a liar; you're a particularly brazen, shameless, conspicuous one. Bush is down to his last 10-15% (with regard to strong approval), and this is what it looks like: folks who like to prance around in flaming trousers. Which in a way makes perfect sense, since you worship a naked emperor.

One more time: according to the Taguba report itself (pdf, p. 6), Taguba wasn't even appointed (to conduct his investigation) until 1/31/04. And he didn't finish the report until early March (p. 14). We also know the report wasn't leaked to the public until 5/04. Nice job! You read Taguba's report before he did!

Next up, whack will explain how he just got done reading the Petraeus report of 9/07.

You're a stunning example of GOP integrity. The only mystery is why Dubya hired Gonzo as AG, instead of you.
6.27.2007 11:40am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "Since I got the Orwell quote from a site called George Orwell Quotes, then it's up to you to prove he didn't say it or write it."

Nice one! I read it on the internet, so it must be true! And who cares that it's generally impossible to prove a negative.

Others have commented, but this is so classic I have to add something.

I've mentioned how there are some interesting blogosphere moments where it's genuinely hard to tell if someone is dumb or dishonest. Similarly, it's sometimes hard to identify satire. The best satirists (like Colbert, for example) look very real.

It's very easy to imagine Colbert saying the exact words you said. No editing required. In other words, I have to consider the likelihood that you're a brilliant satirist. You had me fooled for a while. Nice job.
6.27.2007 12:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "Islam should be illegal"

What you said earlier was this: "Islam must be destroyed." You seem to be backpedaling.

Anyway, let me see if I've got this straight. You don't want to kill every Muslim. You just want to lock up every Muslim. Right?

"Respond directly to Orwell's statement"

I did, more than once, including here.
6.27.2007 12:38pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "Taguba's report SPECIFICALLY pointed out that the Army was to operate by Geneva at Abu Graib"

You're an endless source of amusement. Indeed, Taguba "SPECIFICALLY" said that the Army should have followed GC. Trouble is, they didn't.

This is what you said before:

The Army never sanctioned these methods, then or now, and General Taguba's IG report made this very clear... that the Army policy was to operate by Geneva... by the book


Please consider the following statements:

A) The Army was supposed to do the right thing ("the Army was to operate by Geneva")

B) The Army did the right thing ("the Army never sanctioned these methods")

Earlier you said B. Now you're saying A. Why are you changing your tune? And why are you pretending that A and B are the same, when they plainly are not?

Anyway, nice job ignoring another important thing we have learned from Taguba: that "senior defense officials were involved in directing abusive interrogation policies."

"failure to adhere to the above requirements was behind the Army's appointment of Taguba to his task"

It has become clear that what "was behind the Army's appointment of Taguba to his task" was the expectation that he would produce a whitewash. When he failed to do so, he was punished.
6.27.2007 1:01pm
whackjobbbb:
juke,

You are correct on the official timeline, however BDS/CDS-driven your motivations for ranting about it. My understandings of things Abu Graib/Guantanamo come from various sources in the MP world, sources who referenced these matters months before you had access to Taguba's report, of which I was privy to critical data thereto, and corresponded on then.

Not that any of this matters, other than me jabbering about some inside baseball, information which short months later put me in no more informed position than any voter on election day 2004, as we know.

The people reviewed the rantings of the BDSers, and 63,000,000 of 'em rejected 'em. What else can I say? They went along with what is a part of our history, law and tradition. Now, if you want to change that, have at it, but leave the BDS out of it, I suggest.
6.27.2007 1:04pm
whackjobbbb:
And Taguba pointed out the obvious, that the Army was to operate by Geneva... and didn't. That's a clear reading from that report, most have acknowledged, but I'll leave you to your BDS.
6.27.2007 1:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
hoosier: "Don't slam all of us GOPers. My senior Senator, Dick Lugar, is still making me proud"

Yes, he's finally doing the right thing, and saying the sorts of things that Howard Dean was castigated for saying in 2004. What took Lugar so long?

Watching rats desert a sinking ship shouldn't make us "proud."
6.27.2007 1:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "My understandings of things Abu Graib/Guantanamo come from various sources in the MP world, sources who referenced these matters months before you had access to Taguba's report"

What you said earlier is that you read Taguba's report in 1/04. And you repeated that claim even after I proved that your claim was false.

Now you're saying something different, but you still haven't explained why you tried to get away with telling an outright lie. You also haven't explained why any of your words should be taken seriously, since you've demonstrated that you're a brazen liar.

"various sources in the MP world … I was privy to critical data thereto"

Right. Sure you were.

"63,000,000"

No. 62. Less than 51% of the electorate. It's quite striking how you insist on repeating misinformation even after you've been told that it's misinformation. Getting your facts straight really means nothing to you, right?

"They went along with what is a part of our history, law and tradition."

Abusive interrogation policies directed by senior officials was not previously part of "our history, law and tradition." But now it is, thanks to the GOP. And yes, about half the country "went along" with that. Live and learn.

"Taguba pointed out the obvious, that the Army was to operate by Geneva... and didn't"

Your earlier claim ("the Army never sanctioned these methods") was an attempt to create the impression that the Army did the right thing, according to Taguba. Nice job trying to pretend that you didn't say what you said.

Anyway, let me summarize a few of your false, asinine, incoherent statements:

A) I read Taguba's report before he did
B) Taguba found that we did the right thing
C) It's OK that we did the wrong thing, because that's "our history, law and tradition"

More, please. There's nothing good on TV right now.
6.27.2007 1:45pm
whackjobbbb:
My, but you are afflicted with a particularly virulent strain of BDS, aren't you?


Abusive interrogation policies directed by senior officials was not previously part of "our history, law and tradition." But now it is, thanks to the GOP. And yes, about half the country "went along" with that. Live and learn.



Yes, these methods are a part of our history, law and tradition, as discussed previously, and were enshrined by many, many folks in our history, as well as by the electorate in 2004, as you now acknowledge, I see. That admission represents progress for you... there is hope.

And let's stipulate that I'm an exhibitionistic gasbag, billowing clouds of blather, concerning my knowledge of military police practice in Iraq and Cuba in late 2003 and early 2004. That doesn't change the fact that Army policy was to follow Geneva, didn't, and that Taguba's report pointed all this out. Following this, the electorate reviewed this all comprehensively in a presidential campaign, and 63,000,000 approved... representing a continuation of our past history, law and tradition.<------------PERIOD

Why are you arguing the obvious? Can't you at least ATTEMPT to contribute to the issue. Have they developed an inoculation for BDS of your type?
6.27.2007 2:09pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
In a couple of places above I reference a key article about the Taguba report. The article in 5/04 was the first to announce that the report had been leaked. The link I used above is damaged. A working link is here.
6.27.2007 2:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
whack: "these methods are a part of our history, law and tradition"

You are claiming that abusive interrogation policies, directed by senior officials, are "enshrined" in our history. Earlier, you attempted to prove this by referencing fine sources such as historyisahoot.com and egypttoday.com. And even these sources, such as they are, said almost nothing to substantiate your claim.

Here's an idea: get back to us when you have something remotely resembling proof.

"I'm an exhibitionistic gasbag, billowing clouds of blather"

There's no point wasting innocent electrons restating the obvious.

"the electorate reviewed this all comprehensively"

It's true that careful readers of Sy Hersh were familiar with what Taguba said. Elsewhere in the media, the story was minimized as 'a few bad apples.' Here's a classic example: "Could Seven GIs Lose the War?" The role of senior officials was swept under the rug.
6.27.2007 2:41pm
whackjobbbb:
What can I say... BDS is alive and well. Good luck to you.
6.27.2007 3:18pm
whackjobbbb:
Let me help the BDSers, as they appear incapable of helping themselves, and this is critical stuff.

The Military ain't gonna torture anybody... not as policy. That seems clear. Do yourselves a favor and drop this.

The CIA will, and will participate in other nations' such efforts, as they have historically. Heard anything about those dozen of so French guys released from Guantanamo a couple years ago? Think they're still alive, and in possession of all their fingernails? The French might yammer on in Match articles, but up in the Bastille somewhere, they laugh uproariously at those mongrel Americans and their foolish "Bill of Rights", and you may depend those 12 guys divulged whatever they knew, toute suite.

But then, French history, tradition and law in this regard is only marginally different than ours.
6.27.2007 3:33pm
Colin (mail):
Jukeboxgrad, you're being mercilessly trolled. As if whackjobbb's name wasn't enough of a clue, he's just making ridiculous claims to rile you up. When you point out a lie, he says, "BDS," and gets another round out of the exchange. Let it drop; this whole thread has gone downhill since Litigator's bon mot.
6.27.2007 4:11pm
whackjobbbb:
Yes, anything that doesn't fit neatly into the BDS template... well, it must be a "ridiculous claim".

Still, this advice holds: If you want to see the problem here... look in the mirror.
6.27.2007 7:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
colin: "you're being mercilessly trolled"

I understand your point.

"he's just making ridiculous claims to rile you up"

It's obvious that he's making ridiculous claims, but I think it's important to understand that he actually believes those claims. Or, at least, he seriously expects readers to believe those claims.

We're in a mess because the GOP took us there. The GOP led us into a mess because its core, to a shocking degree, is people exactly like smokey and whack (or worse, if you can imagine that; if you can't, go hang out at a place like Power Line Forum). They perform an inadvertent public service by making all this so vividly clear, when they speak up in a place like this. It would be rude of me to not pitch in and help them in this regard, any way I can.

"Litigator's bon mot"

I agree that nothing in the thread matched the fine beginning he provided.
6.27.2007 8:56pm
whackjobbbb:

We're in a mess because the GOP took us there.


...and here is the bedrock of BDS... the shameless rejection of reality.

Elections don't matter to 'em... history don't matter to 'em... legislation don't matter to 'em. Nothing matters but ramming all into the pinched confines of the fantastic BDS template.

Look in the mirror, it's your only way out of this. Nobody can do it, but you.
6.27.2007 11:08pm