pageok
pageok
pageok
DoJ Official Waterboarded:

Acting assistant attorney general Dan Levin apparently asked to be waterboarded when evaluating its legality, according to ABC News.

After the experience, Levin told White House officials that even though he knew he wouldn't die, he found the experience terrifying and thought that it clearly simulated drowning.

Levin, who refused to comment for this story, concluded waterboarding could be illegal torture unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision. And, sources told ABC News, he believed the Bush Administration had failed to offer clear guidelines for its use.

UPDATE: Marty Lederman has more thoughts on this story here.

PersonFromPorlock:
As I remarked in another venue: "Any interrogation technique that, if done by a private citizen, would justify a charge of assault is torture."

Would anyone care to dispute this?
11.3.2007 12:44pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
Well, I admire the thoroughness of his research. Maybe we should have water-boarded Rummy, and then asked his opinion of the procedure.
11.3.2007 12:48pm
Dave Orr (www):
Person: That is way overaggressive. You can file assault just for being touched -- see the recent case against Rep. Bob Filner.

Maybe you mean battery?
11.3.2007 1:03pm
Armen (mail) (www):
I'm having horrible bar exam flashbacks, but assault doesn't require any contact with the victim, just imminent threat of battery.
11.3.2007 1:15pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
PersonFromPorlock,

Yes I dispute your claim. Battery would include things like taking a person by the arm and leading them into into a room they didn't want to be in. Battery is any unpermitted touching no matter how slight. So your allegation of what should constitute torture is laughable on its face. More so in light of facing the likes of Kahlid Sheik Mohammed.

The mere fact that this Alleged DOJ officer volunteered to be waterboarded shows absolutely that waterboarding IS NOT torture. If it were REAL TORTURE, like being hung by his testicles or having his limbs broken or having his fingernails pulled out with a pair of pliers he would NOT have and DID NOT volunteer to "test" these procuedures.

Many reporters have similarly asked to be waterboarded so they could "report" on whether it was torture or not. None of them however have volunteered to undergo testicle hanging, broken limbs, or having fingernails ripped out with pliars. The mere fact of what they are willing to volunteer for and what they are NOT willing to volunteer for conclusively establishes, imho, exactly what is and isn't torture.

Torture leaves permanent physical effects. All these "volunteers" recognize that waterboarding does NOT leave any permanent physical effects and are therefore quite happy to volunteer to test it. Unlike REAL torture that does leave permanent lasting effects like, fingernails being yanked out, broken limbs, testicle hanging., etc. All these "volunteers" instinctively know what torture is and isn't and they don't volunteer for torture but they do volunteer for waterboarding which is NOT torture.

Says the "Dog"
11.3.2007 1:21pm
Daniel San:
CC: Well, I admire the thoroughness of his research. Maybe we should have water-boarded Rummy, and then asked his opinion of the procedure.

I don't know how Rummy would respond, but I don't think you really want to leave the definition of 'torture' up to your least favorite 'tough guy' and what he will admit terrifies them or is willing to endure. (Liddy comes to mind).

Porlock: As I remarked in another venue: "Any interrogation technique that, if done by a private citizen, would justify a charge of assault is torture."

How would you react to: threatening to lock them up? wrestling them to the ground if they try to flee? handcuffing them? tasering or bludgeoning them if they are combative? The last aren't routinely done in the context of interrogation, but if it is torture
11.3.2007 1:27pm
Anonobvious:
What glorious weasel words: "unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision." They'll justify any morally abhorrent interrogation technique!

In my legal opinion, starving a prisoner over days is torture "unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision."

In my legal opinion, pointing an empty gun at a prisoner's head is torture "unless performed in a highly limited way and with close supervision."

What the hell is wrong with these people?
11.3.2007 2:10pm
eeyn524:
Of course the guys really undergoing waterboarding: (a) don't get to stop whenever they want, (b) haven't been assured that it won't be fatal, in fact, they've likely been assured the exact opposite, (c) aren't having the procedure carried out by a bunch of loyal subordinates whose careers depend on the boss being satisfied with how the whole thing went.
11.3.2007 2:10pm
Gully (mail):
Waterboarding is simulated dieing. The problem people have with it is that it is simulated. No permanent effects. The question, as technology continues to evolve, is weather simulating something is torture.

If we could make someone believe their wife/daughter is being raped in front of them through virtual effects would it be torture? Our society is going to have to decide this question sooner rather than later.
11.3.2007 2:35pm
Mike& (mail):
When a person is being waterboarded with hostile hands, he doesn't know if he will live or die. You can't compare a consensual waterboarding session to a non-consensual one.

There are people who are into getting tied up and "beaten" as a form of sexual gratification. But that's not a real beating, and it's not that scary. Why not? Because, deep down, the person being "beaten" knows it will be over soon, that not too much force will be used, and that the person will not kill them. A person surrounded by a group of thugs in a dark alley have a different feeling.

I take jiu jitsu. People try to choke me unconscious. I never feel like my life is in any danger in class. I don't even get an adrenaline rush. Why not? Because it's a controlled environment. No one is really going to hurt me.

If, however, a random person on the street put his arms around my neck, I would have a different physiological and psychological reaction.

So... what's interesting to me is this: Despite the fact that Levin knew he wouldn't really die, he was terrified. Deep down, he knew it would be over soon. He knew doctors would revive him if he went under. He knew no one there really wanted to hurt him. Yet, as safe as he knew he was, he felt terror.

Waterboarding is torture. Anyone who says otherwise is welcomed to let me waterboard them. We will record it and post the video on YouTube, so that the world can see that it's not really torture.

In fact, I don't know why Sean Hannity hasn't already done this. He could show to the world what an Alpha Male he is. He will endure waterboarding with Zen-like calm. Because, after all, waterboarding is no big deal.

So, who will be the first to "take the plunge"?
11.3.2007 2:59pm
Frater Plotter:
The mere fact that this Alleged DOJ officer volunteered to be waterboarded shows absolutely that waterboarding IS NOT torture.
By this reasoning, the following acts are not torture:

* tying a person to a rack and flogging them with a cat o' nine tails
* inserting needles through a person's genitals or other body parts
* applying electricity to a person's genitals
* tying a person with ropes into awkward and painful positions
* branding a person's skin with hot irons
* asphyxiation (short of strangulation)

These are all acts that a substantial number of people do voluntarily and consensually engage in, either out of curiosity or out of a considered preference, under the auspices of BDSM sexual practices. You may consider BDSM practitioners to be perverted or abnormal, but they are certainly consensual and voluntary.

Nonetheless, any of these practices, inflicted upon a detainee involuntarily, constitute torture.

The fact that a person is willing to consent to a procedure in order to discover how painful it is, does NOT mean that the procedure may legitimately be used upon detainees. To take an extreme case, a person may be willing to consent to have a dildo or other object inserted anally out of curiosity ... but sodomizing detainees forcibly is obviously torture (as well as being felony sexual assault).
11.3.2007 3:13pm
Steve:
Consider the surgical procedures transsexuals consent to. I guess cutting off someone's penis isn't torture either.
11.3.2007 3:23pm
VincentPaul (mail):
Mike,
I volunteer. Several times during my life I've had experiences that must at least equal waterboarding, so I'm game.
11.3.2007 3:28pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Oregon allows euthanasia, so I guess executions aren't torture either Steve?

anesthesia = difference ?
11.3.2007 3:32pm
e:
Your cute "take the plunge" shows that some people still equate all versions of waterboarding. Do prisoners in US hands really think we'll kill or permanently damage them? Even before we started this quest of reducing all uncertainties which have traditionally been a great tool of interrogators.

As mentioned the point is not that any masochist would volunteer for the treatment. Military trainees are subjected to waterboarding not in isolation but rather part of a program with lots of uncertainty built in. It is used for simulation for the reasons that true torture is not. They could recover from cuttings or pulled fingernails, but that would cross the line.

The suggestion of equating torture to assault/battery is silly, and part of the problem of an expanded definition which is my biggest concern here. "Mild torture" by the slightest touching will simply make people more likely to accept some sort of necessity justification and lead to true torture. Talk about barring touching as a matter of humanity or morality, but int'l conventions clearly cover prohibited treatment which is not torture. Maybe we should follow that lead and not follow the media drama of "seeing that cartoon tortures my soul."

I continue to be amazed by the certainty of some people, but the better argument might be the borderless approach. If we don't think police investigators should do it to citizens, then maybe that informs as much as the military training point. I'm not aware that the gov't is trying to use coerced evidence in trials, but that does not mean we should condone the type of coercion. Even if effective, which I think it can be given that even the questionable stories of conspirators will reveal some common truths.
11.3.2007 3:33pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Waterboarding would mess up Sean Hannity's hair, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to.
11.3.2007 3:33pm
Mike& (mail):
Do prisoners in US hands really think we'll kill or permanently damage them?

That would be a totally illogical view.

Frater Plotter: Your points are well-taken. Hopefully you are not casting pearls before swine.
11.3.2007 4:00pm
whit:
"As I remarked in another venue: "Any interrogation technique that, if done by a private citizen, would justify a charge of assault is torture."

Would anyone care to dispute this?"

yes. it's the dumbest statement i've read on the internet in weeks.

assault (or assault and battery - depends on the state) basically means any unwanted touching.

every time a police officer makes an arrest, they use a level of force - placing their hands on a person to handcuff them that would be ASSAULT if done by a private citizen.

note that you don't even need to cause pain to commit an assault.

defining deviancy UP is just as bad as defining it down. it dilutes the meaning of words.
11.3.2007 4:20pm
scooby (mail):
"Waterboarding would mess up Sean Hannity's hair, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to."

Steve Harrigan already did, though...
11.3.2007 4:26pm
EH (mail):
JunkYardLawDog: Are you asserting that there is no torture besides physical torture? Mock executions are a counterexample here.

That said, I would agree that a voluntary waterboarding is not torture, but it gives us a nice illustration with which to extrapolate some effects of involuntary waterboarding. I think this distinction makes quite a bit of difference.
11.3.2007 4:26pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Dave Orr:

Person: That is way overaggressive. You can file assault just for being touched — see the recent case against Rep. Bob Filner.

Maybe you mean battery?


I looked up 'assault' in Maine law a while back and it seems to be what most jurisdictions mean by 'battery'. I could have been clearer, I guess. So far as being overaggressive goes, pretty clearly the alternative to a simple definition is a niceness of distinction that makes 'torture' anything the speaker wants it to be, or not be.

So let's change 'assault' to 'battery'; it doesn't change the thought at all.
11.3.2007 4:27pm
PersonFromPorlock:
JunkYardLawDog:

Battery is any unpermitted touching no matter how slight. So your allegation of what should constitute torture is laughable on its face.

Actually, it's your definition of battery that's laughable... even if it's correct.
11.3.2007 4:30pm
scooby (mail):

You may consider BDSM practitioners to be perverted or abnormal, but they are certainly consensual and voluntary.

Nonetheless, any of these practices, inflicted upon a detainee involuntarily, constitute torture.


First off, virtually no BDSM leaves any marks. Look at the hard-core fetish parades, do you see people with scarred backs? That's what you get from real branding and flogging, and you expect it because you're deliberately confusing Hannibal with real life. As a result you're portraying a segment of society as though they're sick twisted freaks. It's amazing the number of people you have to slime to make your point.

So when you stop trying to distort the relatively simple idea of a reasonable person by including people who have a dangerous compulsion to destroy their own bodies (and others'), the truism holds that what a reasonable person voluntarily consents to isn't torture.
11.3.2007 4:37pm
PersonFromPorlock:
whit:

yes. it's the dumbest statement i've read on the internet in weeks.

Oh, the honor! Actually, I think we can tell the difference between a resisting arrestee and a helpless prisoner. Well, some of us can.
11.3.2007 4:38pm
Badger (mail):
I wonder why this post doesn't mention that AAG Levin was forced out of DOJ shortly after writing a memo saying that waterboarding could only be considered legal under very narrow circumstances.
11.3.2007 4:38pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'haven't been assured that it won't be fatal'

Pay attention, eeyn. Sometimes these training sessions are fatal or do produce permanent serious injury.

I don't care very much where we draw the line, as long as we Americans draw it and do not allow it to be drawn by antisemitic, antidemocratic hate groups like HRW, AI etc.

And, of course, as long as the Geneva Conventions, which have never protected any American prisoner in Asia, are left entirely out.
11.3.2007 4:53pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Chris Bell: "Waterboarding would mess up Sean Hannity's hair, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to."

My hope was that it would be Mr. Hannity who wouldn't hold his breath...
11.3.2007 4:54pm
Gaius Marius:
This is why the United States should make it a matter of military policy to not take prisoners in this War against the Jihadists. Just terminate these Jihadists on the battlefield and rely on other intelligence methods to preempt terrorist attacks. This way the United States does not have to worry about what constitutes torture.
11.3.2007 4:56pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Gaius Marius: "Just terminate these Jihadists on the battlefield and rely on other intelligence methods to preempt terrorist attacks. This way the United States does not have to worry about what constitutes torture."

Then the United States would only have to worry about what constitutes war crimes...
11.3.2007 5:00pm
Anonperson (mail):
Waterboarding has been described as simulated drowning. I think a much better description of it is "incomplete drowning". The prisoner is strapped to a board, and deprived of air until he/she involuntarily takes a breath, allowing water into the lungs. This could continue until the prisoner actually loses consciousness.
11.3.2007 5:08pm
Anderson (mail):
Maybe we should have water-boarded Rummy, and then asked his opinion of the procedure.

Never too late to start. But waterboarding *is* torture, and I wouldn't have it done to KSM or Osama, let alone Rumsfeld.

Gaius Marius's notions are consistent with his namesake, who would probably poll well among the Republican base.
11.3.2007 5:09pm
Chris Bell (mail):
I read in the NYT the other day that the US prosecuted Japanese soldiers as war criminals for waterboarding US soldiers during WWII.

How has this fact not been a bigger deal? Was it refuted somewhere else and I missed it?

Otherwise, what rank hypocrisy.
11.3.2007 5:18pm
e:
Mike&- Are you really confusing systematic policies and abuse which leads to internal investigation and discipline? Do you really think that that potential prisoners are not aware of our self-scrutiny and aversion to true torture of the kind involving permanent injury? Any prison system has the potential for sadism, but what matters here is that sadists are not systematically encouraged or tolerated in all interrogation centers.


However we choose to classify a particular type and degree of waterboarding, is there a basic deficiency in the definition of torture as severe physical/mental suffering/pain...? The answer may be easy to those who know criminal law, but would the definition withstand a vagueness challenge if it were copied directly into our criminal code? Subjectivity and intent problems? Are military members and CIA interrogators inherently not reasonable because they may on average have been desensitized to some pain and humiliation? Apart from waterboarding, since the line drawing game cannot stop there, it seems that any loss of liberty and privacy is degrading at some level. If I were jewish, would it be inhuman to confine me without torah and kosher cuisine? Is there a point when we simply have to say that some cultural thin skins do not merit special consideration.
11.3.2007 5:31pm
e:
Chris Bell, have you missed the many comments on this board that explain that not all types of "waterboarding" are the same? I believe someone else mentioned that the WWII/Japan version involved pressurized water and stomped chests. Another style was the Pol Pot version which from my understanding actually did involve dunking people in tubs with a substantial risk of death. What the US has done has been limited in time and carries no special risk of death or injury. To attempt an analogy, holding someone in a cell for a few weeks is not necessarily a problem, but becomes so if the cell is the size of a coffin.
11.3.2007 5:42pm
TyrantLimaBean:
Please. My fraternity initiation was worse than our interrogation techniques.
11.3.2007 6:01pm
Frater Plotter:
TyrantLimaBean: Your fraternity initiation was consensual -- you signed up for it, you voluntarily joined! -- and was performed by people who wanted you as their brother, not by people who apparently wanted you dead.

Little bit of a difference there. Like the difference between rough hard sex between consenting adults, and pulling some "enemy" off the street and forcing rough hard sex on them against their will.
11.3.2007 6:15pm
Anonperson (mail):
TyrantLimaBean, if waterboarding is so mild, then how can it be effective against the most hardened terrorists, which is the kind of prisoners for which it is being advocated?
11.3.2007 6:18pm
Que ridiculo!:
Please. My fraternity initiation was worse than our interrogation techniques.

Really, you were captured on your college campus and subjected to simulated drowning by trained CIA forces in order to reveal your secrets about terrorist plots to your frat brothers? Wait, that wasn't what happened, and that wasn't the purpose? Kind of a big difference.
11.3.2007 6:29pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
e: "not all types of 'waterboarding' are the same"

Yes, it comes in various flavors. But there is a long history of US courts treating all those flavors (including the flavor we use) as torture. That's well-documented (pdf).

chris: "I read in the NYT the other day that the US prosecuted Japanese soldiers as war criminals for waterboarding US soldiers during WWII."

Yes. See above.

"How has this fact not been a bigger deal?"

Welcome to the new world order.

que: "simulated drowning"

I realize it's often described that way, but I think that term is a misleading understatement. I think it's more properly described as controlled drowning.
11.3.2007 6:55pm
Kelvin McCabe:
I agree that the voluntary nature of the waterboarding changes its dynamic and the resulting psychological effects. The same goes for U.S. special operations soldiers who get waterboarded, under very closely watched paramters, as training to resist torture interrogation if they are captured by enemies. In both, the person submitting to the procedure has in some way consented, it is being performed by friendlies, etc...
Now imagine your kidnapped off the streets by masked men, whisked to a foreign country, subjected to sensory deprivation, stress positions, sexual humiliation, verbal threats from human and dog alike, your freezing your ass off, and you have no idea what is going to happen next.
And I think everyone can agree that regardless of method, the purpose of "wateboarding" is to simulate the act/process of drowning in the person waterboarded. Drowning causes people to die. Near drowning makes people think they almost died or they could have died if it had not been stopped. How is this different from a mock execution? And why cant anyone ask whether a practice of simulated drowning (without reference to the term waterboarding) that is intended to subject the detainee to the feeling that he is drowning and could die is the functional equivalent of a mock execution? Mock executions are illegal - and so should be waterboarding - if that is indeed the purpose it is used for. If there is another purpose, i am open to hear it.

And by purpose, i mean in terms of the distinct method employed and its intended result on the person its being employed on. Of course the purpose of using any interrogation technique is to get information.
11.3.2007 7:11pm
fishbane (mail):
The mere fact of what they are willing to volunteer for and what they are NOT willing to volunteer for conclusively establishes, imho, exactly what is and isn't torture.

So follow through. Advocate waterboarding for criminal defendants, to "prove" they were selling that joint. Obviously, it isn't torture, so it is OK for cops, right?
11.3.2007 8:02pm
Smokey:
Chris Bell:
Waterboarding would mess up Sean Hannity's John Edwards' hair, so don't hold your breath waiting for him to.
There. Fixed it for you.
11.3.2007 8:05pm
whit:
"Oh, the honor! Actually, I think we can tell the difference between a resisting arrestee and a helpless prisoner. Well, some of us can."

person, you still don't get it. ANY unwanted touching is technically an assault. cops do this in nearly ALL arrests (placing handcuffs on ) and in many non-custodial arrest situations - placing a hand on a suspect to move him back, escorting him away from a victim, etc. etc.

the point is flat out stupid. assault =/= torture. unwanted touching (which is what assault IS when done by an ordinary citizen) =/= torture.

so stop being idiotic and admit that the statement WAS idiotic

there is a reason to argue that various forms of force (psychological, physical etc.) are or aren't torture. rational people can disagree as to what constitutes torture

no rational person would claim that ANY unwanted touching = torture. NOBODY. that is not remotely close to the accepted definition of torture and you darn well know it.

the original statement equating ALL assaults with torture was stupid. and the reason we have a word TORTURE is that it is not the same thing as ASSAULT.

certainly SOME assaults are ALSO torture. certainly, most assaults are NOT.

get real, get a clue., and stop arguing the indefensible.

if you want to redefine torture to mean ANY unwanted touching, then you are being idiotic. i HOPE purposefully, because it's hard to believe anybody could actually be that dense.
11.3.2007 8:36pm
whit:
"The mere fact of what they are willing to volunteer for and what they are NOT willing to volunteer for conclusively establishes, imho, exactly what is and isn't torture."

another dumb statement.

look, i volunteered to be tased. it's optional in our training.

CLEARLY, if i tased somebody to get information from them - that's TORTURE. just as if i shot somebody to get them to talk, it would be torture (of course, both shooting and tasing aren't torture when done justifiably to effect an arrest or act in defense of self or others).

the point is that it is ludicrous to say that just because somebody volunteers to be subject to a form of force, that that form of force is not torture. that's ridiculous.

and of course torture IS dependant on time, place, reason for, etc. shooting somebody because you have lawful authority to do so in defense of self/property/effect certain forms of arrest (preventing flight) is not torture.

doing what nick cage did to the person in gaurding tess (shooting in foot to elicit information) IS torture and nobody would deny that.

again, i volunteered to be tased (the most painful kind of tase which is application of one probe in the shoulder, and then a contact in the shin to complete a longer circuit - the wider the circuit, the more muscle/nerves involved and the more painful the tasing). it doesn't mean that if i tased somebody to get a confession out of them that this wouldn't be torture. it would be (imo). note that it would aos be an assault. SOME assaults are torture. MOST arent
11.3.2007 8:43pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Smokey: I don't hear John Edwards saying that waterboarding is OK.
11.3.2007 8:46pm
Que ridiculo!:
rational people can disagree as to what constitutes torture

So enough with the hypotheticals: who is this theoretically rational person who thinks that waterboarding is not torture? Is someone who defines "torture" as "[leaving] permanent physical effects" being rational or not?
11.3.2007 9:08pm
Smokey:
Chris Bell:
Smokey: I don't hear John Edwards saying that waterboarding is OK.
Heck, I just thought you were commenting on hairstyles.
11.3.2007 9:15pm
Porkchop:
Jukeboxgrad, not too many people here that are really interested in law or facts, are they?

Seriously, folks -- click on jbg's link -- 42 pages of everything you might want to know about U.S. legal history and waterboarding. When our soldiers did it in the Philippines in the early 1900's and in Vietnam, we court-martialed them. When the Japanese did it to POW's during WWII, we tried them as war criminals. When a Texas sheriff did it to prisoners, we prosecuted him. There was never any question, until now, apparently, that waterboarding was torture. Somebody at DOJ just has to do a little basic legal research, like maybe a Lexis search of "water" and "torture."
11.3.2007 9:46pm
Left shoe:
For those of you who think only physical scars or physical damage should constitute torture, you can feel free to petition the government to change the law. But until then, U.S. law defines torture more broadly and encompasses the intentional infliction of severe mental suffering, including things that would lead somebody to believe they're about to be killed in a rather painful way.
11.3.2007 10:52pm
Thomass (mail):
"PersonFromPorlock:
As I remarked in another venue: "Any interrogation technique that, if done by a private citizen, would justify a charge of assault is torture."

Would anyone care to dispute this?"

Yes, if I slap you its not torture but it is assault. If I stick toothpicks under your finger nails, its torture and assault.

You can expand the slap to other things that don't fall into being torture... some of which would not even be assault (loud music, not allowing you to sleep, cold room, et cetera)... they're not meant to even hurt, just to disorient to make you pliable....
11.3.2007 11:24pm
Thomass (mail):
whit:

"the point is that it is ludicrous to say that just because somebody volunteers to be subject to a form of force, that that form of force is not torture. that's ridiculous."

Just because you say that, doesn't make it an argument.

You're not, ever, going to volunteer to have your eye poked out. That's because its [actually a form of] torture… and why the argument about volunteering (or not) does have some validity.
11.3.2007 11:28pm
Que ridiculo!:
You're not, ever, going to volunteer to have your eye poked out. That's because its [actually a form of] torture… and why the argument about volunteering (or not) does have some validity.

So because whit volunteered to be tasered, law enforcement tasering someone in custody to elicit information is not torture? This is why the "volunteering" argument has no validity--it makes no sense whatsoever.

If I wanted to have only one eye, volunteering to poke my eye out would be a good way to go about it. So it's not "actually a form of" torture either, according to you.
11.4.2007 12:18am
whit:
que, spot on.

it's amazing that people who are theoretically lawyers (and thus you would think have some exposure to basic analytical reasoning and fallacies etc.) would not be so grossly illogical.

i'll diagram it for the ignorati.

torture and assault are intersecting sets.

iow, many things that would be assault (unless done with justification iow arrest (citizen or cop) self-defense etc.) are ALSO torture.

but many forms of assault are NOT torture

and there are many things that are torture that are NOT assault.

thus, saying something is (or would be if committed by a civilian or cop with no justification) assault doesn't say anything about whether it is torture.

here;'s some examples of things that are clearly torture and are also assault: nick cage's character shooting the guy in the foot to get him to talk, some guy cigarette burning somebody to make them talk

note: they are torture AND assault

here's torture, that's NOT assault: showing a person videotape of their family being tortured (apparently in real time) to get them to talk, and then it will stop. note that in this hypothetical, it's done with CG and they aren't ACTUALLY being tortured, but subjecting the person to believing you are torturing their family would arguably be torture, but clearly NOT assault

everybody could agree that the nick cage example is torture

nobody (but this dingaling with his assault = torture argument) would claim that lightly spanking somebody once on the backside is torture. but it clearly would be assault

etc. etc.

the tasering thing clearly proves that people volunteer for stuff that would be torture UNDER the "right" circumstances, and that's another dumb argument.
11.4.2007 12:33am
Elliot123 (mail):
This discussion could be advanced if we eliminated the use of the word "torture." Is it possible to make a case for or against various practices without recourse to that word? If not, then there's not much of case. The word has become useless since there is no commonly accepted definition. Hence, there is no common standard against which we can evaluate any particular practice.

So, without using the word, what's the problem with waterboarding?
11.4.2007 12:36am
Que ridiculo!:
Forcing prisoners to believe they're about to die by drowning means that no boundaries exist to prosecution or punishment. It has been used in the past by groups we rightly view as authoritarian: Spanish Inquisition, Khmer Rouge, Gestapo. Allowing waterboarding now when we have prosecuted people for doing it prior to the War on Terror is not only rank hypocrisy but brings us closer to these historical evils.
11.4.2007 1:26am
Thomass (mail):
(link)Que ridiculo!:

"So because whit volunteered to be tasered, law enforcement tasering someone in custody to elicit information is not torture? This is why the "volunteering" argument has no validity--it makes no sense whatsoever."


Yes, repeated use could qualify as torture.. but the reason is the frequency not the method.

Once during a time sensitive interrogation with lives on the line 'torture'? Oh please... its so inflating the definition as to devalue its meaning for actual torture...
11.4.2007 2:45am
Thomass (mail):
Elliot123 (mail):

"So, without using the word, what's the problem with waterboarding?"

It's really scary and makes you feel like your drowning... even though you know your not.
11.4.2007 2:50am
PersonFromPorlock:
whit:

the original statement equating ALL assaults with torture was stupid.

That wasn't the original statement, which was "Any interrogation technique that, if done by a private citizen, would justify a charge of assault is torture." Big difference.

Thomass:

...if I slap you its not torture but it is assault.

If you slap me to get me to answer questions, it is.

I will admit I should have said battery, not assault; I plead confusion caused by different definitions in different jurisdictions.
11.4.2007 8:00am
anomie:
Seriously, folks — click on jbg's link — 42 pages of everything you might want to know about U.S. legal history and waterboarding.

Or, for the shorter version, see today's Washington Post.
11.4.2007 8:35am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
thomass: "repeated use could qualify as torture.. but the reason is the frequency not the method"

You should let us know exactly how many times we've done it, and to what persons, and under what circumstances. I assume you have a reliable source (i.e., a source other than anonymous leaks via the Bush admininistration).

By the way, the statute is here (there are also other relevant statutes, but this one is enough). I can't find the part where it says it's not a crime if you only do it x number of times, and not y. Maybe you can help us find that text.

Then again, maybe you're a Republican, which means you don't believe in the rule of law. Is that it?

"It's really scary and makes you feel like your drowning... even though you know your not."

After you show us your proof for how many times we've used the procedure, you can also show us your proof that we've never gone too far and killed someone in the process. Because if such a thing had ever happened, we would surely know, right?
11.4.2007 10:02am
noname (mail):
I'm really confused by the argument that ONLY things that no reasonable person would agree to (like having an eye gouged out) count as torture. I'm also confused by the idea that this category is the same category as things that leave permanent, physical damage; I can think of a LOT of things that inflict a lot of pain but don't leave permanent damage - bamboo under fingernails and the like - that it would be unreasonable to consent to.

The problem with the basic argument is that it is underinclusive. The fact that it rightly identifies SOME practices as torture (gouging out eyes, chopping off fingers, etc.) does not mean that it identifies all the practices that constitute torture. (It might, but what is the justification for drawing the line there?)
11.4.2007 10:18am
gc:
"Torture technics such as pulling fingernails, broken limbs and testicle hanging leave permanent physical effects. Waterboarding does not leave permanet marks. Therefore, waterboarding is not torture."

The logic of such a statment is similar to this. "2, 3, 5 and 7 are prime numbers. All of them are single-digit integers. 11, 13, 17 and 19 are double-digit integers. Therefore they cannot be prime numbers."

The obvious absurdity of such thinking would be easy to dismiss if it were not embraced by so many in the government and, sad to say, in the legal profession.

Just so that the it's clear: definition of torture under international convention, under US law, in Webster's or in common usage has NEVER been limited to acts leaving permanent physical effect. But that should hardly be news to anyone.

So what is the matter with these people?
11.4.2007 10:39am
Anderson (mail):
Marty Lederman reacts to the Levin story:

it's hard to resist the simple conclusion that Gonzales and others were engaged, not only in an effort to completely distort the proper function of OLC (see generally Jack Goldsmith's book), but also in a conspiracy to violate the Torture Act and the War Crimes Act.

Amen.
11.4.2007 1:21pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
e sez: 'Do you really think that that potential prisoners are not aware of our self-scrutiny and aversion to true torture of the kind involving permanent injury?'

That wasn't addressed to me, but no, I don't think they are. We're Great Satans, remember?

Before we worry about which rules we play by, we really ought to make an effort to understand what rules they play by.

Not the Geneva Convention rules, for starters.

It would not be difficult to construct a separate set of torture rules for separate peoples. This is already enshrined as a principle of legalism in the Geneva Conventions that the anti-waterboarding people are so enamoured of.

The GC, for example, does not require a holding power to feed prisoners enough to keep them healthy but only as much as it feeds its own soldiers. This was a problem in Vietnam. It costs more calories to keep an American alive than a Vietnamese.

Not that the No. Vietnamese gave a damn about the GC, but they starved their American POWs and that would not have been a crime under the GC.
11.4.2007 1:23pm
Que ridiculo!:
Before we worry about which rules we play by, we really ought to make an effort to understand what rules they play by.

Not the Geneva Convention rules, for starters.


What is the end result of this line of thinking? Are we to ignore the GC because some people are more evil than us? If you don't care for principles in a time of war, why aren't we just chopping off prisoners' heads? "They did it too" is playground thinking--why should our treatment of prisoners be based on such logic?

Why do conservatives suddenly become moral relativists whenever they are eager (ahem) to justify the use of torture?
11.4.2007 2:49pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Kelvin McCabe:


Now imagine your kidnapped off the streets by masked men, whisked to a foreign country, subjected to sensory deprivation, stress positions, sexual humiliation, verbal threats from human and dog alike, your freezing your ass off, and you have no idea what is going to happen next.
And I think everyone can agree that regardless of method, the purpose of "wateboarding" is to simulate the act/process of drowning in the person waterboarded. Drowning causes people to die. Near drowning makes people think they almost died or they could have died if it had not been stopped.



Well you certainly gave a good description of the absolute least I hope happened to Kahlid Sheik Mohammed.

All of which would be justice and none of which would be out of bounds in my humble opinion.



How is this different from a mock execution? And why cant anyone ask whether a practice of simulated drowning (without reference to the term waterboarding) that is intended to subject the detainee to the feeling that he is drowning and could die is the functional equivalent of a mock execution? Mock executions are illegal - and so should be waterboarding - if that is indeed the purpose it is used for. If there is another purpose, i am open to hear it.



This is an excellent point and one of the reasons mock executions aren't torture in my humble opinion.


As for all the other lame arguments above (especially funny are the one's claiming some superiority of logical thinking) that then proceed to compare apples and oranges and go off on completely unrelated and irrelevant tangents, like.." well if we do it to a small select group of terrorist leaders who have declared war on the USA to save innocent lives then cops can routinely do it to citizens for confessions and other similarly inane juvenile high school debate bullsh*t"

To the person who asked if those like myself are defining torture as physical harm with either or both lasting physical effects or SEVERE and PERVASIVE psychological effects I would say absolutely yes.

Torture is only a relevant concept in war not law enforcement or the highly laughable sexual habits supposed refutations.

The bottom line remains, the DOJ guy and various reporters volunteer for waterboarding but NOT for real torture. The reason they do is because waterboarding is NOT real torture.

Says the "Dog"
11.4.2007 3:47pm
Que ridiculo!:
So JYLD finally backpedals from the notion that torture requires "physical effects." Too bad the latest missive contained an even more ridiculous idea:

Torture is only a relevant concept in war

So the Gestapo and the Spanish Inquisition never tortured anyone? The love of torture makes for some strange bedfellows.
11.4.2007 4:59pm
Gaius Marius:
General Tecumseh Sherman aptly noted that "War is Hell!" The goal of any war is to kill and destroy the enemy and do so in greater numbers than they are able to accomplish to you.

Frankly, my earlier point about not taking prisoners from the battlefield is that doing so only distracts the United States from its primary goal in this Jihad: to kill the Jihadists. Look at all these posts about what constitutes "waterboarding" and what does not and what are the exceptions and whether or not the Nazis or Pol Pot engaged in "waterboarding." What a waste of frickin' time, space, and resources.

I believe most, if not all, of the Jihadists in Gitmo were captured on the battlefields in Afghanistan. Capturing them was a mistake. They should have been terminated on the battlefield and I don't give a rat's ass if they had dropped their AK-47 on the ground and had their hands up. They took up arms against the United States and supported their brethren's unprovoked attacks on 9-11. If any Jihadist takes up arms against the United States on the battlefield, there is only one consequence and it is death -- plain and simple. There should be no prisons, no lawyers, no torture, no pseudo-torture, no "waterboarding," no blindfolds, no peanut butter sandwiches for long plane rides, etc. There should only be death for any and all Jihadists.
11.4.2007 5:09pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Que sez: 'Why do conservatives suddenly become moral relativists whenever they are eager (ahem) to justify the use of torture?'

Where did I try to justify the use of torture?

Even if I had, why would that make me a 'conservative'?

I am only interested in winning, defined as not getting killed by madmen. Any method that doesn't get that result is a bad method.

I am persuaded that to accomplish that goal we will have to change (or possibly destroy) a world religion beyond the point where any of its 2007 adherents would recognize it.

Presumably that would not be 'torture,' but it would be a drastic response.

Anyhow, our choice, not some imaginary international code that gets Americans killed when used.
11.4.2007 9:00pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
QueRidiculous:

Having trouble reading simple sentences I see.

Here is the relevant sentence from me.


To the person who asked if those like myself are defining torture as physical harm with either or both lasting physical effects or SEVERE and PERVASIVE psychological effects I would say absolutely yes.


Try reading again, more slowly and for comprehension this time. You will note if you do that the sentence states quite clearly PHYSICAL HARM is a required element.

I did get quite a good laugh out of the completely useless references to the inquisition and the Gestapo however. The Gestapo didn't bother waterboarding because they used REAL torture. You know the kind of torture that reporters and country bumpkin JAG Offs and DOJ idiots don't volunteer for, so a completely irrelevant use of a Godwin's law violation.

The inquisition was not against people who were illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization who had declared war on Spain. So again a completely inane and irrelevant and illogical comparison to the discussion at hand.

Says the "Dog"
11.5.2007 12:10am
Que ridiculo!:
Where did I try to justify the use of torture?

When you are willing to give up any semblance of morality to win in war, what naturally follows?

Even if I had, why would that make me a 'conservative'?

You're right, it would make you an authoritarian, like other posters here.

I am persuaded that to accomplish that goal we will have to change (or possibly destroy) a world religion beyond the point where any of its 2007 adherents would recognize it.

Great goal. What kinds of people have pursued such genocidal dreams in the past? We'd become a member of quite a wonderful group--all in the name of "winning." What were we fighting for again?
11.5.2007 12:46am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness.

If you end up without that, where's your morality?
11.5.2007 11:31am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "the sentence states quite clearly PHYSICAL HARM is a required element"

What your sentence says is infinitely less important than what the US Code says. By law, "PHYSICAL HARM" is not "a required element."

harry: "if you end up without that, where's your morality?"

Once we jettison our morality, what distinguishes us from our enemies?

Morality doesn't mean much if it's something you hang onto only when it's easy and free to do so. Adults understand that morality has a price, and that the price is worth paying.

Living as a free society entails accepting risk that could be avoided if you handed your freedom to a dictator. Freedom isn't free, and neither is morality.
11.5.2007 1:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "The inquisition was not against people who were illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization who had declared war on Spain"

Our federal anti-torture statute forbids torture, even when the persons being tortured are "illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization."

If you want to see that exception written into the law, go for it. Call your rep. But instead, you're advocating ignoring the law. This means you've "declared war" on democracy.
11.5.2007 1:37pm
abb3w:
eeyn524: Of course the guys really undergoing waterboarding: (a) don't get to stop whenever they want [...]

Frater Plotter: These are all acts that a substantial number of people do voluntarily and consensually engage in, either out of curiosity or out of a considered preference, under the auspices of BDSM sexual practices. You may consider BDSM practitioners to be perverted or abnormal, but they are certainly consensual and voluntary. Nonetheless, any of these practices, inflicted upon a detainee involuntarily, constitute torture. The fact that a person is willing to consent to a procedure in order to discover how painful it is, does NOT mean that the procedure may legitimately be used upon detainees

scooby: So when you stop trying to distort the relatively simple idea of a reasonable person by including people who have a dangerous compulsion to destroy their own bodies (and others'), the truism holds that what a reasonable person voluntarily consents to isn't torture.

I believe, Scooby, that you miss the significance eeyn524's remarks adds to Frater Plotter's observations about BDSM. Anyone in the BDSM community who isn't dangerously insane uses a pre-agreed safeword — a signal that can be given by the bottom/victim that things have gone too far and that the top/dominant player should stop. People draw their lines at different places. It's typical to stop at the first drop of blood; I generally don't worry about surface cuts and scrapes unless my blood is spurting, or until I get light-headed from blood loss.

Burns? Playing with hot wax causes light burns, and is pretty common experimentation; it seldom scars, and thanks to several pieces of Hollywood dreck it's practically as routine as oral sex these days. Some folk take it further; one of my ex GFs had some hot metal and cigarette burn scars from her peak of kink, though I wouldn't go that far myself. The sane usually stop short of permanent and disabling injury — since that means the fun can't be repeated. But even that isn't 100% certain — and those are the people who everyone in the BDSM community would agree fall in your "dangerous compulsion" category.

The real difference between these things and torture is that real torture victims have no safeword... and duplicating that aspect makes it very hard to "test". The limits are essential to what keeps "fun and games" mere fun and games, and the lack of them what keeps torture tortuous.

My view is that it is sufficiently close to torture as to be suspect. I see no reason to believe that this conflict is likely to resolve itself any faster than the dispute between the House of Plantagenet and the House of Valois; no hope of a Joan of Arc is in sight. On such time scales, such secrets can not hope to be reliably kept. Our failure to disavow this method is a poor tactic in the modern war of information, as it jeopardizes our fragile grip on moral high ground.

More to the point, I believe that its mere resemblance to torture is sufficient for the point raised by Scott Adams in one of his Dogbertesque moments to be cogent. Before one gets caught up in questions of whether or not it is moral or torture, one should ask another question first. Is the intelligence gained by using ___________ (waterboarding, in this case) reliably useful? It's been used before and elsewhere; historical data ought to be available. Has anyone bothered to check whether or not it works? Because whether you call it torture, interrogation, or a pink plastic flamingo, if it doesn't work, it's a bad idea.
11.5.2007 1:48pm
abb3w:
jukeboxgrad: Once we jettison our morality, what distinguishes us from our enemies?

Uniforms with better fashion sense.
11.5.2007 2:17pm
Anderson (mail):
The inquisition was not against people who were illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization who had declared war on Spain

Why not just *admit* that you know absolutely nothing about the Inquisition, apart maybe from a Mel Brooks skit?
11.5.2007 2:41pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Anderson why don't you just offer some proof that the inquisition was against people who were illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization who had declared war on Spain and if you can't, why don't you just keep your bullsh*t ad hominem comments to yourself or at a minimum save them for the 5th grade playground where they might have some effect.

Says the "Dog"
11.5.2007 3:05pm
John Kunze:
Its very simple.

Waterboard Gulliani, Romney, Thompson, Cheney, Bush, and anyone else who doubts waterboarding is torture. Then ask whether it is torture. I'll bet most will agree that it is.

Anyone who still doubts would be waterboarded again and again. At some point all of these language warriors will agree that it is torture.

That both proves that it is torture and that in some circumstances torture is effective.
11.5.2007 3:25pm
Thomass (mail):
(link)John Kunze:

"Its very simple.

Waterboard Gulliani, Romney, Thompson, Cheney, Bush, and anyone else who doubts waterboarding is torture. Then ask whether it is torture. I'll bet most will agree that it is."

Yes it is simple. And it takes the 'if I'd have it done to me' argument to the next step... If I were captured in a conflict and had important information needed by my captors... and all they did to me, and the others in detention, was a couple waterboardings... I'd be thankful to them once the conflict was over... for their restraint (for not actually torturing me / cutting me to pieces)... especially if no one talked and gave them the info they wanted...
11.5.2007 4:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk, when you have a chance, see if you can find time to explain why you lied to us about the UCMJ.

Maybe you can explain that it was simply an honest mistake, and then we'll know that you're not a liar, but merely a fool.
11.5.2007 4:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Speaking of cowards.

thomass: "Yes it is simple."

I thought you ignored the simple and fair questions I asked you because you weren't here. But now we see that you are here. So what's your excuse?
11.5.2007 4:17pm
Anderson (mail):
why don't you just offer some proof that the inquisition was against people who were illegal enemy combatants fighting for a non-state organization who had declared war on Spain

Wiki explains it all to you. Also, here:

Moriscos were suspected of being in contact with the Turkish Empire and the Barbary pirates, conspiring against Spain.

Precisely the arguments you imply in your language, were made against the Moriscos: they were civilians suspected of aiding International Islam. The Inquisition was just one of the agencies of persecution turned against them, of course.
11.5.2007 5:31pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Jukebox,

The UCMJ outlaws waterboarding and applies only to Military personnel. Other laws do NOT outlaw waterboarding, which is why a MINORITY of senators wanted to pass a law that would outlaw waterboarding. The senate MAJORITY did NOT want to outlaw waterboarding so the measure to outlaw waterboarding was defeated.

You can spout all the crap you want, but those are the facts. No law makes waterboarding as used by the Bush Administration illegal. The only crime would have been for the Bush Administration NOT to waterboard Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

Also unrefuted remains my original point that since DOJ and various reporters have volunteered for waterboarding but NOT volunteered for any REAL torture, it shows they know the difference between non-torture like waterboarding and real torture.

Says the "Dog"
11.5.2007 5:37pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Anderson, there is nothing in the wikipedia references about the Moriscos being illegal enemy combatants of a non-state organization that had declared war on Spain.

Just admit you made an over the top ad hominem and call it a day.

Says the "Dog"
11.5.2007 5:43pm
Anderson (mail):
Anderson, there is nothing in the wikipedia references about the Moriscos being illegal enemy combatants of a non-state organization that had declared war on Spain.

Oh! You wanted those exact words! Wait just a minute, while I edit the Wikipedia articles .... there!

--Forgive me, Dog, I sometimes fail to pick up when you're being satirical.
11.5.2007 5:50pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "The UCMJ outlaws waterboarding"

Indeed. Is there an echo in here? You're merely repeating what I said here.

You're pretending to forget that you made a separate point, for a specific rhetorical reason. You said this:

Those [federal] statutes however don't give a definition for torture that includes waterboarding specifically unlike the UCMJ… In fact since those statutes definitions omit specific mention of waterboarding unlike the UCMJ …


You claimed, clearly and repeatedly, that UCMJ includes "specific mention of waterboarding."

The UCMJ is here. Show us where to find that "specific mention of waterboarding."

It's not there. You're a liar. And thanks for trying to run away from the lie, because that confirms that it was not just a foolish mistake.

"Other laws do NOT outlaw waterboarding"

US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C forbids torture, which is defined as (among other things) "the threat of imminent death." Waterboarding is a form of asphyxiation. Asphyxiation entails "the threat of imminent death." You have failed to acknowledge the existence of this statute, let alone explain how you can possibly interpret it in any other manner.
11.5.2007 10:38pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "a MINORITY of senators wanted to pass a law that would outlaw waterboarding. The senate MAJORITY did NOT want to outlaw waterboarding so the measure to outlaw waterboarding was defeated"

You're doing a nice job channeling one of the key Bushist boilerplate talking points du jour. Unfortunately, it's completely bogus. Paul Gigot conveyed your dishonest point as follows:

Congress has twice had the opportunity to ban or criminalize waterboarding and some of these stress interrogation techniques, when they were debating the Detainee Treatment Act in 2005 and the Military Commissions Act in 2006. They explicitly did not ban those specific techniques. How can they ask Mukasey to declare them illegal if they didn't do so?


You and Gigot are misrepresenting what happened, in a shameful attempt to fool people who aren't paying close attention (most people, in other words). What happened is this:

In September 2006, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., authored the amendment to the military tribunals bill that would have effectively defined waterboarding as torture and made it subject to Common Article 3 under the Geneva Conventions.

The amendment itself focused on conduct of other countries, but said: "should any United States person to whom the Geneva Conventions apply be subjected to any of the following acts, the United States would consider such act to constitute a punishable offense under common Article 3 ... ."

The amendment listed "forcing the person to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; applying beatings, electric shocks, burns, or other forms of physical pain to the person; waterboarding the person; using dogs on the person; inducing hypothermia or heat injury in the person; conducting a mock execution of the person; and depriving the person of necessary food, water, or medical care."

The amendment failed to gain the needed 50 votes, failing 46-53. Specter and then-Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island were the only Republicans to vote in favor. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., was the lone Democrat to oppose the measure.


Let's put aside Fox's egregious spin in that first paragraph, and focus on the facts they're reporting. The amendment had nothing to do with the acts of US citizens, or with US law. It was intended to warn other countries of certain acts we consider violations of GC. It's utter sophistry to claim that when this amendement failed, the Senate was declaring that waterboarding was legal. That's nonsense. The exact same 'logic' you're using can be used to declare that all of the following are legal:

forcing the person to be naked, perform sexual acts, or pose in a sexual manner; applying beatings, electric shocks, burns, or other forms of physical pain to the person; waterboarding the person; using dogs on the person; inducing hypothermia or heat injury in the person; conducting a mock execution of the person; and depriving the person of necessary food, water, or medical care


Really? Is that your claim? We can burn detainees and apply electric shocks and not be in violation of the federal anti-torture statute? (Aside from being in violation of GC and UCMJ.) This is the absurd idea that you and Gigot are peddling: that all these acts are now legal because the Senate defeated this amendment. Let us know if that's really what you believe.
11.5.2007 10:38pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
junk: "No law makes waterboarding as used by the Bush Administration illegal."

You've utterly failed to explain why waterboarding is not a violation of our federal anti-torture statute. But let's put that aside for the moment, and pretend for the sake of argument that you're right, and waterboarding is legal.

Then why is Bush refusing to admit that he has done it (instead he's using leaks to convince us that he's 'only' done it three times)? No problem if it's legal, right? And why is Mukasey being so coy? Why not just say it's legal if done by "NON-Military interrogators?" No problem if that's true, right? And why has Hayden banned it it? Why do that if it's legal?

You ignored these questions the first time I asked them. Maybe you'll surprise us and not duck them again.

"DOJ and various reporters have volunteered for waterboarding but NOT volunteered for any REAL torture, it shows they know the difference between non-torture like waterboarding and real torture"

All of those volunteers are in a position to be 100% sure that the procedure will stop the moment they wish it to. They are in control (and doing something not very different than choosing to hold their breath for a certain period of time). Our captives are not. This distinction is so simple and crucial that even you should be able to grasp it.
11.5.2007 10:39pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
'Once we jettison our morality, what distinguishes us from our enemies?'

Well, I would consider it a distinction that if they stopped trying to kill us, we would stop trying to kill them, whereas if we stopped trying to kill them, they would not stop trying to kill us.
11.6.2007 12:57pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
harry: "if we stopped trying to kill them, they would not stop trying to kill us"

If we are the most powerful country in the world (a status that is not likely to last, at the rate we're going), then there are always going to be people who hate us and are trying to kill us. And some of those people are going to be ingenious, highly motivated, and barbaric. And they are always going to achieve some degree of success. It has always been this way, and it will always be this way.

If this is sufficient reason to rationalize immorality, then we never had morality to begin with. It's also a sign that our power is an illusion. The powerful can afford to be moral, and the truly powerful understand that power derives from morality and is enhanced by morality. Our immorality is s sign of weakness, is properly seen as such, and it begets even more weakness.
11.6.2007 7:42pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Thank you. I am drafting a paper on the mental outlook of the appeaser, and your summary is perfect.
11.7.2007 1:26am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Perfect is right. When you have a chance, maybe you should also draft a paper on the "mental outlook" of those who can't tell the difference between name-calling and analysis. Leave space to explain why those who condone immorality and lawlessness have little to offer other than epithets like "dilettante," "pantywaist" and "appeaser."

Appease means to yield to someone's belligerent demands. The true appeasers are those who let our enemies convince us to abandon our values.

Another irony of appeasement is worth mentioning. One of OBL's key demands, around the time of 9/11, was for us to pull out of Saudi Arabia. What did we do shortly after 9/11? Quietly pull out of Saudi Arabia. Speaking of appeasement.
11.7.2007 2:48am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Yes, exactly. Bush is as much of an appeaser as you.

There is this slight difference. Bush, I imagine, considers there is a non-zero chance that our enemies will target him personally.

I am confident, without knowing you, that when you shrug about the fate of the innocents that our enemies are yet to kill, you rate your chances of being one of them at zero.

As of distant people of whom you know nothing, well, you won't miss them, will you?

You have said so.

I will also point out that if the news reports are correct, the United States government has waterboarded more Department of Justice lawyers than it has suspected murderers.
11.7.2007 11:44am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
harry: "I am confident, without knowing you, that when you shrug about the fate of the innocents that our enemies are yet to kill, you rate your chances of being one of them at zero."

You're obviously confident about lots of things that you're not in a position to be confident about.

Anyway, I addressed that particular form of idiocy in another thread.

"if the news reports are correct"

I guess you're talking about the news reports that are based on anonymous Bush-directed leaks designed to make us think he's only done it to three people. In other words, reports that are accepted at face value even though they have no credibility whatsoever.

"waterboarded more Department of Justice lawyers than it has suspected murderers"

Nice job demonstrating that you can't grasp the simple distinction outlined here.
11.7.2007 4:38pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
This just in. All Navy SEALs get waterboarded. I hadn't known that.

Bush had better get on the stick with torturing Muslims or he'll never catch up to past torturing of Americans.

I have no opinion about waterboarding one way or the other, except that if it is effective in preventing suicide bombers from murdering children, it's fine by me; and if opposing it interferes with exterminating the people who blow up little kids, then that's immoral.

I have known Americans, not in mental asylums, to seriously suggest that a person of brown aspect who does not get a free college education is a victim of 'institutional violence'. Can a redefinition of that to torture be far behind?

Probably not.

Anyhow, the disdain of appeasers is something to cherish. Been there, done that, didn't care for the outcome.
11.7.2007 11:27pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
harry: "Bush had better get on the stick with torturing Muslims or he'll never catch up to past torturing of Americans."

Nice job demonstrating that you can't grasp the simple distinction outlined here.

And nice job making it clear that you're paying no attention whatsoever.

"if it is effective in preventing suicide bombers from murdering children, it's fine by me"

Then presumably you also support other forms of torture, like rape, burning, electric shock, mock executions? Because the same logic applies.

A simple yes or no would be helpful, and would indicate at least that you have some intellectual honesty, even in the absence of morality.

By the way, do you think it's a problem to break laws and treaties? It would also be a sign of intellectual honesty if you indicated that you advocate pulling the US out of GC, for example.
11.8.2007 7:23am