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Col. Davis' Rejoinder to Brig. Gen. Hartmann:

Col. Morris Davis once again takes to the pages of the Los Angeles Times, this time to reply to Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann's response to his criticisms of U.S. military tribunals for Gitmo detainees and his stated reasons for resigning as the chief Gitmo prosecutor.

Hartmann says the military commissions are consistent with an American military justice system that is the envy of the world. Apparently he's privy to some worldwide polling data I haven't seen, because it appears to me military commissions have created worldwide enmity, not envy. To overcome that, there must be two assurances from the highest levels: One, that evidence derived from waterboarding will not be introduced before a military commission, and two, that all reasonable efforts to keep the proceedings open to the media and other observers will be exhausted before closing any portion of any trial. That's the minimum American justice demands.

[Hat tip: Greg McNeal]

In related news, Brig. Gen. Hartmann's congressional testimony (which was delivered because the military denied the Senate's request for Col. Davis to appear) has prompted at least one Navy JAG to resign.

gawaine (mail):
For those too lazy to read the related news link - you could read it as "Has prompted one Navy JAG reservist to resign - a reservist who is not currently on active duty, and hasn't been for years, for more than a week at a time."

Is it really newsworthy when a reservist resigns, just because he writes a letter of resignation?
12.27.2007 10:28am
Orielbean (mail):
Gawaine, for a country that is proud (and should be proud) of having a volunteer army (and a large military as well) instead of the millenia-long practice of conscription or forced service, it continues to make the case that people joined because they love their country and want to keep it great. When that country makes decisions like waterboarding and doesn't even have the grace to admit that it's not ideal, then it discourages those same volunteers who were previously inspired to serve. I know that doesn't amount to very much, but there you go.
12.27.2007 10:45am
wm13:
Clearly, Davis and Hartmann disagree. I often disagree with my boss, but I don't claim that my opinion is "justice" and my boss's opinion is "politics."

In this case, the compelling importance of prosecutorial independence escapes me. Hartmann doesn't really make a case for why prosecutorial independence in itself, rather than Hartmann's getting his own way on any issue where reasonable minds could differ, is so important.
12.27.2007 10:46am
ejo:
the JAG Corps and its importance in the task of actually fighting and winning wars still escapes me. It seems, in the zeal of some to make war a legal exercise, that the actual military which does the fighting is an adjunct to the lawyers, not the other way around. a reserve lawyer quit-will the Republic persevere?
12.27.2007 10:48am
ejo:
is Col. Davis somehow privy to what kind of system would satisfy World opinion-what, in his opinion, would make the people of Saudi Arabia happy? I think the minimum that I would demand from the system would be one that does its utmost to protect my country-if Col. Davis disagrees, do I get to call him a traitor?
12.27.2007 10:51am
Cornellian (mail):
the JAG Corps and its importance in the task of actually fighting and winning wars still escapes me. It seems, in the zeal of some to make war a legal exercise, that the actual military which does the fighting is an adjunct to the lawyers, not the other way around. a reserve lawyer quit-will the Republic persevere?

Then by all means abandon the pretense of having trials, let the Executive make decisions about who to detain and who to kill with no option of any review and let the chips fall where they may. Don't pretend you're having trials to determine guilt or innocence, then complain when the people on trial point out they're not being given access to exculpatory evidence or that the trial in in some other way a sham. Either you want trials or you don't.
12.27.2007 11:07am
AntonK (mail):

"...worldwide enmity...."

How terrible!
12.27.2007 11:12am
ejo:
I don't want trials to determine guilt or innocence, so pretense dropped. I think they are in no way mandated by our Constitution and trials have never been mandated in the past for captured enemies in times of war. We are being quite merciful and responsible in giving our jihadist friends what we are giving them-it will never be enough, however, for some people. Will it be necessary, to satisfy you, to have a defense lawyer available on the battlefield along with Miranda warnings?
12.27.2007 11:28am
Cornellian (mail):
I meant what I said - if you don't think there should be trials, then don't have trials. I think no trials at all would be better than show trials. But this administration seems determined to create the appearance of trials without the substance. Presumably they have some rationale for wanting to create the appearance of trials but they've never explained why.
12.27.2007 11:45am
Mark Field (mail):

Will it be necessary, to satisfy you, to have a defense lawyer available on the battlefield along with Miranda warnings?


Out of arguments again, I see.
12.27.2007 11:46am
donaldk2 (mail):
No doubt there are a few there who are completely innocent.
The most assiduous efforts must be made to identify and release them. For the rest, lock them up till the war's over. And don't worry about the opinions of the rest of the world.
12.27.2007 11:47am
ejo:
out of arguments? we have had posters on other threads who have indicated that such captives must be given criminal trials in our justice system. if given the trials many pinheads seem to want, they would surely be entitled to such rights, wouldn't they? do kind hearted souls such as you actually want them to receive less than all of the available due process and constitutional rights they should be entitled to? you monster. at least in WWII, they waited until after the war was over to make a pass at giving the enemy trials-I guess, in our enlightened era, that would be monstrous.
12.27.2007 11:56am
A.S.:
Envy of the world, enmity of the world. Who the f*%# cares?

Meanwhile, who knew that Knight Ridder is producing op-eds?
The tapes may have contained evidence that the U.S. government used a type of torture known as waterboarding to obtain information from suspected terrorists.

Torture, including water-boarding, is prohibited under the treaties of the Geneva Convention.


What BS. I never realized that Knight Ridder was in the business of printing Amnesty International position papers. More proof that the MSM is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.
12.27.2007 12:19pm
Sigivald (mail):
Cornellian: The military tribunals mandated in this context are not trials anyway.

They are not meant to produce a verdict on a criminal matter; they do not determine guilt or the absence thereof (or at least inability to prove it) as regards any offense.

What the tribunals are for is determining, primarily if not entirely for purposes of compliance with a treaty, that a person is or is not legitimately an unlawful combatant, or a real prisoner of war, or an innocent bystander caught up by mistake.

(I'd like to add that Davis' quoted comment is itself either deceitful or indicates poor reading ability or thinking; he complains that the commissions are unpopular worldwide [and we'll bracket the question of where he got his polling data, and whether the opinion of people fed a steady diet of Der Spiegel and other notoriously anti-American and only vaguely accurate information has any relevance at all] - in response to, as he quotes, Hartmann claiming that the US military justice system is the envy of the world.

As a lawyer, one might reasonably expect him to be capable of understanding that the US military justice system is not the same entity as the military commissions in question; the commissions are a small and new part of the military justice system, but he conflates the two directly and surprisingly openly.

Is this just sloppy work on his part? Is it malicious? Or is it just that since he was chief prosecutor he's lost his sense of proportion and really thinks that the commissions are the major part of the military justice system now?)
12.27.2007 12:40pm
Anderson (mail):
Sigivald, you are mistaken. We are indeed setting up tribunals to try guilt or innocence and to impose penalties, including death.

The ETA for these verdicts is supposed to be a little before November 2008, according to Davis.
12.27.2007 12:46pm
Mark Field (mail):

we have had posters on other threads who have indicated that such captives must be given criminal trials in our justice system.


Your reading comprehension cannot possibly be this bad. Nobody -- NOBODY, in case you're hard of hearing -- has made that argument. A few people have suggested that they think it'd be a good thing if we did that, but NOBODY thinks it's required.


if given the trials many pinheads seem to want, they would surely be entitled to such rights, wouldn't they?


No. And again, you know this. If you want anyone to take your views seriously, you need to do better than misstate the arguments.


What the tribunals are for is determining, primarily if not entirely for purposes of compliance with a treaty, that a person is or is not legitimately an unlawful combatant, or a real prisoner of war, or an innocent bystander caught up by mistake.


No, that's what the CSRTs are for. The MCA specifically describes the purpose of the Commissions: "PURPOSE.—This chapter establishes procedures governing the use of military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States for violations of the law of war and other offenses triable by military commission."


I'd like to add that Davis' quoted comment is itself either deceitful or indicates poor reading ability or thinking; he complains that the commissions are unpopular worldwide [and we'll bracket the question of where he got his polling data, and whether the opinion of people fed a steady diet of Der Spiegel and other notoriously anti-American and only vaguely accurate information has any relevance at all] - in response to, as he quotes, Hartmann claiming that the US military justice system is the envy of the world.


It's Hartmann who's deceitful here. He tried to change the subject from these particular Commissions -- which do NOT follow standard US procedures -- to the military justice system generally, which is quite good. It's precisely the differences between the two which are significant. Thus, Hartmann's reference was an attempted distraction.

The remainder of your paragraph is self-contradictory. You first say that Davis cited no polling data, implying that he was wrong about the world attitudes. You then implicitly admitted he was right about world attitudes by claiming that the world is misinformed.
12.27.2007 12:56pm
John (mail):
One consequence of this unprecedented lawyering of war will be that there will be fewer prisoners taken. Who needs the trouble?
12.27.2007 1:04pm
ejo:
you deny that posters on prior threads have indicated that we have to either give these guys criminal trials or release them-that's quite a whopper. some of the finest here actually believe that is what must happen. as to world opinion, you, like Davis, cite to nothing and can't tell us what would satisfy the world. tell us, o sage, what would satisfy Saudi Arabia? what about Germany? should we ask Vladimir Putin for his preferences? Communist China? what is this monolithic "world opinion" that would make you happy?
12.27.2007 1:14pm
Mark Field (mail):

One consequence of this unprecedented lawyering of war will be that there will be fewer prisoners taken. Who needs the trouble?


It's odd that you have so little faith in our soldiers that you're prepared to accuse them of war crimes before they even have the chance to commit them.
12.27.2007 1:32pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
donald: "No doubt there are a few there who are completely innocent."

No doubt you're understating the situation. Notice this:

Denbeaux, who has worked with Seton Hall University's Law School in studying the Guantanamo detainees' cases, said that 55 percent have never been accused of committing a hostile act against the United States or its allies and that 60 percent were neither fighters for the Taliban nor for al-Qaeda.


Those claims are well-documented (pdf).
12.27.2007 1:52pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
as: "Envy of the world, enmity of the world. Who the f*%# cares?"

Folks who think that fighting the "GWOT" by ourselves isn't such a great idea. Then again, maybe you think this is a positive development:

An Italian judge has ordered 26 US citizens - most of them CIA agents - to stand trial over the kidnap of an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.


Let us know if you think the CIA is eager to operate with zero cooperation from former allies.
12.27.2007 1:52pm
Pio (mail):

One consequence of this unprecedented lawyering of war will be that there will be fewer prisoners taken. Who needs the trouble?


That belies a complete ignorance of how the folks in Guantanamo got there - many if not most were not 'taken prisoner' on the field of battle, but turned over by random Afghans for bounties. The only reason we have to believe that they are terrorists are the words of the people who turned them in, who have a financial incentive to turn folks over indiscriminately and who often turned out to have unrelated, long-standing grudges against those they turned in. Then again, after half a decade of wrongful imprisonment in Guantanamo I might start to sympathize with Al-Qaeda myself, so the administration may be right in saying they shouldn't be trusted free...
12.27.2007 2:05pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Some of the commentators make much of the fact it was only one reservist JAG corp member who resigned, and he was hardly working anyway. Quite true. But this doesn't deal with the substance of his comments, which—for those who didn't check the link—are as follows:

"Thank you General Hartmann for finally admitting the United States is now part of a long tradition of torturers going back to the Inquisition. In the middle ages the Inquisition called waterboarding "toca" and used it with great success. In colonial times, it was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623.

"Waterboarding was used by the Nazi Gestapo and the feared Japanese Kempeitai. In World War II, our grandfathers had the wisdom to convict Japanese Officer Yukio Asano of waterboarding and other torture practices in 1947 giving him 15 years hard labor. Waterboarding was practiced by the Khmer Rouge at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison. Most recently, the United States Army court martialed a soldier for the practice in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict."

It seems to me, as a matter of basic logic, those who support current American military/govt. interrogation techniques must agree to one of the following:

Either:

1. The resigning JAG attorney is incorrect on his facts, or

2. It is acceptable for the US government to do this when US government officials think it best.

If they agree with 2, they must either believe:

A. It was perfectly proper for the Inquisitors, the Nazis, the Kempeitai, and the Khmer Rouge to use this technique, and the American soldier in Vietnam and Japanese soldier during WWII were improperly convicted, or

B. The American government is simply exceptional, historically, politically, morally. Things we do are acceptable, because we always do them for good and noble reasons, while the same things done by other governments are condemnable and contemptible, because we disagree with them and their justifications.

Those who believe B might be interested in a recent post where Will Smith's comments that even Hitler thought he was doing things for good and right reasons was discussed.
12.27.2007 2:24pm
donaldk2 (mail):
Jukeboxgrad:

Thank you for the reference to the Denbeaux report. It is very informative and impressive.
12.27.2007 2:35pm
ejo:
Thoughtful-unfortunately for that line of reasoning, history didn't begin with Bush. We killed civilians in WWII, quite intentionally. We fought battles where, simply, prisoners were not taken, they were killed. with your logic, that would make us the equivalent of the Nazis/Japanese/Whoever we were fighting. I guess, given the JAG's logic, we are following a long line of ghoulish monsters when we engaged in very ugly and distasteful conduct during wars past. Would you agree we are not better than those we fought in WWII because we engaged in brutal conduct? would you agree that, given the conduct we engaged in, we should have lost those wars because we did not meet the pristine standards you demand? it would seem, if you disagree, that you are a hypocrite.
12.27.2007 2:41pm
SJE:
It is wrong to merely characterize this as a dispute between the boss and a lowly employee. Brig-Gen Hartman is Col. Davis's boss, true. However, as a Colonel, Davis is only one rank below his boss. Few officers make Colonel, indicating that Davis has several qualities not normally found in other officers. This dispute is much more like a junior partner at a law firm quitting because he disagrees with the managing partner. As a result, if we care about the JAG Corps, we should at least consider the opinions of Colonel Davis.
12.27.2007 2:54pm
ejo:
what if we don't care about the JAG Corps? what if we feel resources sucked up by the ever expanding JAG Corps detracts, rather than enhances, our ability to fight a war?
12.27.2007 2:57pm
SJE:
EJO: There are many important distinctions between what happens on the battlefield, under highly extenuating circumstances, and what is official government policy executed in the safety and comfort of a secure U.S. base.
12.27.2007 3:00pm
SJE:
EJO: if you dont care about the JAG Corps, why are you even posting on this thread? I agree that it is possible to swamp the military under layers of useless bureaucracy (including lawyers). However, can you show how the JAG Corps is causing this problem?
12.27.2007 3:03pm
A.S.:
Let us know if you think the CIA is eager to operate with zero cooperation from former allies.

If you would have read your own link, you would have noticed that we HAD cooperation from the Italian intelligence services for the kidnapping of Abu Omar. And they indicted those 26 CIA agents anyway.

So, again, who the f@&* cares if other countries think we aren't nice enough to the terrorists we capture? Other countries will help us in the war on terror if they think it is in their interest to help us; whether they think we are nice people is irrelevant.
12.27.2007 3:09pm
ejo:
oh, so you do take the route of being a hypocrite. the decision to drop atom bombs in WWII was not made on the battlefield. it was made by our political leaders from the comfort of america-they must have been evil monsters no better than those we were fighting, right? why post about the JAGS-perhaps because no one has yet offered an explanation for why I should care about their opinions and why they mean more than that of the newest private actually fighting our enemy.
12.27.2007 3:11pm
Mark Field (mail):

So, again, who the f@&* cares if other countries think we aren't nice enough to the terrorists we capture?


Those of us who have this quaint notion that it's better to make allies than enemies.
12.27.2007 3:20pm
wm13:
SJE, I'm a partner at a law firm. But until I become the managing partner of the firm, I have a boss, with whom I sometimes disagree. When we disagree, I do what she says. More to the point, I don't characterize our disagreement as a contest between "justice" on my side, and "politics" on hers.
12.27.2007 3:29pm
Smokey:
...waterboarding... was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623.

Since waterboarding does no physical damage, it is reasonable to believe that there was a lot more going on than simple waterboarding. Thus, the massacre/waterboarding argument fails.

Ejo and A.S. have saved me a lot of typing with their excellent arguments. A pox on anyone who would sell out our country's security, and our soldiers' safety, for the sake of political correctness! It doesn't get any more disgusting than that.
12.27.2007 3:32pm
PLR:
SJE, I'm a partner at a law firm. But until I become the managing partner of the firm, I have a boss, with whom I sometimes disagree. When we disagree, I do what she says. More to the point, I don't characterize our disagreement as a contest between "justice" on my side, and "politics" on hers.

Has she asked you to apply physical torture to the associates or staff?

Cornellian's observations are quite right. Evidence of whether Bush understands any of this is conflicting, to be charitable, but surely there is an appointee somewhere at OLC who believes that a facade of fake trials is useful to distinguish between the actions of Bush/Cheney and the adjudicated acts of Saddam Hussein.
12.27.2007 3:45pm
SJE:
wm13: I agree that if you have a disagreement with the managing partner, you must accept the opinion of the partner. However, if you quit because you fundamentally disagree with the managing partner, the other partners would probably be interested in your reasons for quitting, if it suggests that the firm is being driven in the wrong direction. By comparison, a first year associate's complaints about firm direction are unlikely to be given a hearing.

My analogy was addressing whether we should care about what Davis says. Some say not. I say that Davis, by virtue of his rank, should be at least given a hearing, even if we disagree with him.

I offer no opinion on the use of words such as "justice" and "politics."
12.27.2007 3:45pm
AntonK (mail):

"More proof that the MSM is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party."


And still, they can barely get themselves elected or hold on to power if they manage.... Can you imagine! With a no-cost PR machine that includes ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and on, and on, and on...
12.27.2007 3:49pm
SJE:
EJO: the name calling does not advance your arguments.
The use of nuclear weapons was not a deliberate attempt to target civilians, but was justified as an attack against a legitimate military target, that also happened to kill a lot of civilians. Even so, the decision was (and remains) controversial (Although I consider it certainly the correct decision).
12.27.2007 3:50pm
SJE:
"A pox on anyone who would sell out our country's security, and our soldiers' safety, for the sake of political correctness! It doesn't get any more disgusting than that."

I agree. I suppose I just don't think that it is OK to ignore the rule of law, and I mean U.S. laws.

More importantly, I believe that torture does not work at getting reliable information but does have the effect of galvanizing opposition. This belief is based on my study of the subject, not just what is P.C. If someone could provide me with good evidence that torture was/is a good way of getting reliable information, helping the US achieve its goals, or saving our troops, I will reconsider my position.
12.27.2007 4:00pm
Mark Field (mail):

A pox on anyone who would sell out our country's security, and our soldiers' safety, for the sake of political correctness! It doesn't get any more disgusting than that.


I couldn't agree more.
12.27.2007 4:01pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
If I had to make a guess what ejo is doing on this thread, it's that he has no military experience, probably isn't even a Boy Scout, would piss his pants at the first sign of genuine attack, and finds hurling macho torture fantasies into a blog the best way of dealing with his cowardice.
12.27.2007 4:05pm
ejo:
Is that to make up for your lack of a response to an argument? you seem to lack specifics and focus, instead emphasizing the cowardice of ejo. I will make it simple-we did far more unspeakable things in WWII than waterboarding (think Hiroshima and Nagasaki, civilian centers). Did that make us no better than our enemy? Can you explain to me why we were better given that we didn't maintain the pristine moral standing you crave back then?
12.27.2007 4:13pm
ejo:
Is that to make up for your lack of a response to an argument? you seem to lack specifics and focus, instead emphasizing the cowardice of ejo. I will make it simple-we did far more unspeakable things in WWII than waterboarding (think Hiroshima and Nagasaki, civilian centers). Did that make us no better than our enemy? Can you explain to me why we were better given that we didn't maintain the pristine moral standing you crave back then?
12.27.2007 4:13pm
G-Man (mail):
The JAG is more interested in running a shadow government than winning the GWOT.
12.27.2007 5:10pm
ejo:
shut up, you bed wetter. didn't you just wet your pants when you heard a car backfire. are you trying to be macho. well, you're not, you are a bed wetter. with that out of the way, I again ask why the JAG Corp's opinions on anything carry any more weight than that of any other soldier.
12.27.2007 5:16pm
DougS (mail):
You know my first response to ejo was just what AJ Lazarus said. ejo's response exemplifies the bright line solution-- whatever we do is okay given that it is justified by war in general and the GWOT in particular. Unfortunately, as evidenced throughout the thread, life is more complicated than ejo perceives it. While his suggestions are easy to implement, as all black and white choices are, the repercussions are ignored "damn the torpedoes full speed ahead".
12.27.2007 5:21pm
Thoughtful (mail):
I'm sorry. I didn't realize, contra ejo, that the fact we have bombed whole cities in the past means that doing anything less, no matter how clearly it constitutes a war crime when done by others, is now carte blanche for the US government.

We apparently now live in a time when the atrocities of the past, highly controversial in their era, are now cited as a minimum level that must be reached before complaints and concerns are raised. ("We're rounding up all Americans of Muslim origin, taking their property, and placing them in camps in the desert." "Hell, that's nothing. We did worse to Japanese Americans in the '40s, and the Supreme Court already ruled it's Constitutional. Don't you want to protect America, you traitor?")

But about that little matter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, here's what some high-ranking American military officers thought about it:

[From Wikipedia] Those who argue that the bombings were unnecessary on military grounds hold that Japan was already essentially defeated and ready to surrender.
One of the most notable individuals with this opinion was then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote in his memoir The White House Years:
"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."

Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General Douglas MacArthur (the highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater), Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials), Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard, and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

"Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."

...General MacArthur has also contended that Japan would have surrendered before the bombings if the U.S. had notified Japan that it would accept a surrender that allowed Emperor Hirohito to keep his position as titular leader of Japan, a condition the U.S. did in fact allow after Japan surrendered. He suggested that the U.S. leadership knew this, through intercepts of encoded Japanese messages, but they refused to clarify Washington's willingness to accept this condition."

So perhaps the military necessity and moral propriety were not quite as clear as some posters would have us believe, though quite popular with Americans, who in public polls at the time showed a significant plurality who felt the Japanese as a race should be wiped out once the US won.

And this is now used as an explanation of why the US government's torturing of prisoners is A-OK. Conservative writer Garet Garrett wrote in his essay "The Rise of Empire" (1952) on several characteristics of empire. One was "a complex of fear and vaunting". In today's climate we see the widespread belief both that we can run the world and that we're doomed if we don't attempt to do so. This is the tragedy of which defending torture (if done by OUR government) is the symptom.
12.27.2007 5:23pm
ejo:
still don't get it, huh? my point is much more simple-bad things get done in wars. in the past, we did much worse things than what is complained of today. I doubt even you would contend that, given our brutal conduct, the world would be better off if Nazi Germany had won. today, however, you seem to think that even if a huge number of your fellow citizens would die (or those of another country), we still shouldn't engage in waterboarding even if it matches the description we have heard and essentially broke a terrorist down in 30 seconds. I disagree.
12.27.2007 5:33pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Ejo:

There are some basic logical flaws, as big as barns, that apparently you continue to miss.

1. The fact that we were the "good" guys in WWII doesn't imply that EVERY act we took can, in retrospect, be militarily or morally justified. Saying that Eisenhower and MacArthur were right about the inadvisability of nuclear bombing of civilian cities does not imply one wishes the other side had won the war. Why, I suspect that Eisenhower and MacArthur themselves did not wish the other side to have won the war. Given what Orin has recently explained to us about LSAT logic tests, I'm assuming you're not an attorney.

2. You neglected the cite about the "huge number of [my] fellow citizens" who "would die" if not for waterboarding. Granted some government officials make such claims, largely the ones that told us of conclusive proof of WMDs in Iraq, the descendants of those who propagated tales of the unprovoked attacks on US ships in the Tonkin Gulf. You think I'm more skeptical, perhaps, than is warranted. I think you're more gullible. When it comes to believing government claims, history tends to side with the skeptics.

With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller, and not to be considered an independent argument:

First they waterboarded the terrorists, but I didn't speak up because they were terrorists, or at least alleged to be by those who wanted to waterboard them.

Then they waterboarded the protesters, but I didn't speak up because we're at war for God's sake. We need to be protected, not protested.

Then they waterboarded me. Sadly, there was no one left on VC to object.
12.27.2007 5:46pm
Random Commenter:
"If I had to make a guess what ejo is doing on this thread, it's that he has no military experience, probably isn't even a Boy Scout, would piss his pants at the first sign of genuine attack, and finds hurling macho torture fantasies into a blog the best way of dealing with his cowardice."

Well, this pretty much makes you a dipshit troll yourself, doesn't it?
12.27.2007 5:52pm
ejo:
we have had posters who think that terrorists deserve criminal trials, not any form of detention. we have had others that think loud music playing is the equivalent of torture. we have had still others who, while calling US soldiers every perjorative under the sun, profess that Zubayeh was just a mentally challenged gofer who made slurpee runs for OBL. yet, I am the gullible one? I am sorry but I don't think folks are out there "torturing" (even though I don't think it meets the definition) for the hell of it-you likely disagree as we are, what, slavering degenerates or simply evil? I am afraid I am not going to slip into that cesspool, where Zubayeh is the innocent and we are the monsters.
12.27.2007 5:54pm
davod (mail):
Allthough not directly on point, this Jerusalem Post article shows the viewpoint of the Israeli Attorney General and the Chief Judge Advocate to legal input during the recent fracas in Lebanon. Legal Defeatism.
12.27.2007 6:16pm
Public_Defender (mail):
It may have been "just" one reservist JAG, but he acted honorably. He thought the Chain of Command was acting unethically and immorally, so he resigned. Regardless of which side he fell on, that sounds like an admirable act to me.

To turn this around, consider what might happen in 13 months if President Obama bans torture. Gen. Hartman might resign because he thinks that torture is needed to fight terrorism. The act of resignation would be admirable, but the underlying rationale would be subject to praise and criticism on the merits of the rationale.


"...worldwide enmity...."

How terrible!
-----
what would satisfy Saudi Arabia? what about Germany? should we ask Vladimir Putin for his preferences? Communist China? what is this monolithic "world opinion" that would make you happy?

It was General Hartman who asserted that the military justice system, including the Gitmo "hearings," were "the envy of the world." It's fair to argue that we shouldn't kowtow to world opinion, but Col. Davis was only responding to an obviously stupid argument that General Hartman raised.

If Gen. Hartman didn't think that world opinion was important, why did he raise the issue?


So, again, who the f@&* cares if other countries think we aren't nice enough to the terrorists we capture?

Loyal Bushie General Hartman, apparently.


Will it be necessary, to satisfy you, to have a defense lawyer available on the battlefield along with Miranda warnings?

No, but maybe for the poor slob who is picked up in his home because his neighbor made up a story to collect the bounty that the US was offering.


I think they are in no way mandated by our Constitution and trials have never been mandated in the past for captured enemies in times of war.

How do you know that the people at Gitmo are really "captured enemies"?


We killed civilians in WWII, quite intentionally. We fought battles where, simply, prisoners were not taken, they were killed.

"We did it, so it must be morally correct." Brilliant! Your argument even supports the use of rape as a tool of war. Rape is almost always considered serious, but less serious than unjustified killing. So if killing is OK, rape must be darn-near admirable.

On a less sarcastic note, in WWII, we lacked the ability to take out only military targets. In addition, the "civilians" we killed were at least arguably part of the war machine since they built the tanks and armaments used against US troops (or grew the food shipped to the soldiers fighting US troops).

By contrast, you can't prove that Bush is being honest when he claims that the all of the people at Gitmo and all of the people he is torturing really are part of an armed struggle against the US. Given that dozens (hundreds?) have been released, it's clear that at least some of the detainees aren't as bad as Bush claims.

Finally, while WWII was a noble fight, not everything the US did during that fight was noble.


Can you explain to me why we were better given that we didn't maintain the pristine moral standing you crave back then?

We weren't perfect or pristine, but we were better than the Nazis. We're still "better" than Al Qaida, but that's not exactly the standard I'd like the US to be judged by.


still don't get it, huh? my point is much more simple-bad things get done in wars. in the past, we did much worse things than what is complained of today.

I'll have to try this on behalf of my clients: "Yeah, I know my client just raped a woman, but he murdered a bunch of people thirty years ago, so this Court shouldn't worry about trifles like rape."


SJE, I'm a partner at a law firm. But until I become the managing partner of the firm, I have a boss, with whom I sometimes disagree. When we disagree, I do what she says. More to the point, I don't characterize our disagreement as a contest between "justice" on my side, and "politics" on hers.

If you thought that the managing partner was acting improperly, it would be perfectly honorable of you to demand a change, and, if that fails, resign in protest. You could even say that "justice" was on your side. Your former colleagues can judge your claim on the merits, nothing logically prevents a resigning subordinate from claiming that justice is on his side.


A pox on anyone who would sell out our country's security, and our soldiers' safety, for the sake of political correctness!

Remember, it was General Hartman who said he didn't know if it was wrong for Iran to torture American servicemen. Now who's "sell[ing] out our country's security, and our soldiers' safety, for the sake of political correctness"?


It doesn't get any more disgusting than that.

Finally, something we both agree on.
12.27.2007 6:47pm
fishbane (mail):
What if we don't care about the JAG Corps?

Wow. That's the single most disrespectful thing I've seen said about our military, ever.

Ejo clearly is not military, or has military family members. Nor is ejo an attorney, at least, I hope not, for the sake of hypothetical clients.

And then we have,

shut up, you bed wetter. didn't you just wet your pants when you heard a car backfire. are you trying to be macho. well, you're not, you are a bed wetter.

Now, that's what I call quality argumentation. Have we hit the 'it's a big internet' moment yet?
12.27.2007 6:53pm
dfp21 (mail):
I'm not a lawyer, and I don't want to be. The argument here is how we provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare. (no uniforms, hiding in civilian areas, etc.) The argument is how to make ourselves feel good about ourselves. Our uncivilized enemies are cetainly enjoying our lazy and cynical self-doubting.
12.27.2007 7:04pm
Thoughtful (mail):
Ejo: "yet, I am the gullible one?"

OK. Now we're getting somewhere. Yes, I agree.

Ejo: "I am sorry but I don't think folks are out there "torturing" (even though I don't think it meets the definition)"

So you disagree with "our grandfathers" who "had the wisdom to convict Japanese Officer Yukio Asano of waterboarding and other torture practices in 1947 giving him 15 years hard labor." And you oppose the decision of "the United States Army" that "court martialed a soldier for the practice in 1968 during the Vietnam conflict."? On this we continue to disagree.

Ejo: "I am afraid I am not going to slip into that cesspool, where Zubayeh is the innocent and we are the monsters."

Sadly, not listening to the second Adams, we have gone abroad in search of monsters to destroy, and have become monsters."

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.--George Santayana

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster--Friedrich Neitzche
12.27.2007 7:15pm
SJE:
"The argument here is how we provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare(no uniforms, hiding in civilian areas, etc.)."

Partly, but one of the big problems is that many people labelled "combatants" are nothing of the sort, but were turned in for money, or happened to have a name similar to someone the US was looking for etc.


"The argument is how to make ourselves feel good about ourselves"

Actually, the arguments are about a lot more than that. For example, can the executive violate the law if it believes doing so is in the best interest of US security? etc.

I am (personally) not at all concerned about "making us feel good about ourselves." Sometimes the US (and other nations) has to do things that are unpopular within segments of the society, and with the world community. What is important is whether those actions are in the best interest of the US. The US, as powerful as it is, cannot always go it alone, and needs to work with allies. Many have argued that some of the Bush policies have been very expensive to the budget, harmful to the military and harmful to long term US interests.

"Our uncivilized enemies are cetainly enjoying our lazy and cynical self-doubting."

Ah, the oft heard "if you question us, you give aid and comfort to the enemy." Lets see how well that logic applies when we have to unconditionally accept the secretive dealings of President Hillary.
12.27.2007 7:30pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
thoughtful: "Things we do are acceptable, because we always do them for good and noble reasons, while the same things done by other governments are condemnable and contemptible, because we disagree with them and their justifications"

Well said.

It's helpful to notice that Bush's own State Department has declared that "submersion of the head in water" is a form of torture. The following is from the State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices, regading Tunisia (2/28/05):

… security forces reportedly tortured detainees to elicit confessions and political prisoners to discourage resistance. The forms of torture included: electric shock; confinement to tiny, unlit cells; submersion of the head in water; beatings with hands, sticks, and police batons; suspension from cell doors resulting in loss of consciousness; cigarette burns; and food and sleep deprivation.


(Emphasis added.) The following is from the State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices, regarding Kenya (2/23/01):

Common methods of torture practiced by police included hanging persons upside down for long periods, genital mutilation, electric shocks, and deprivation of air by submersion of the head in water.


"Submersion of the head in water" is a way of using water to asphyxiate. This seems indistinguishable from what we're doing.

Please note that sleep deprivation was also called a form of torture. We do that, and it was authorized by Bush. FBI emails proving this are discussed here, and can be read here and here.

So while we condemn other countries for torture, we've been doing it ourselves, under Bush's Executive Order. So aside from being a war criminal, he's also a hypocrite.
12.27.2007 7:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
donald, you're welcome.
12.27.2007 7:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
as: "we HAD cooperation from the Italian intelligence services for the kidnapping of Abu Omar"

That's exactly the kind of help that is not likely to continue.

"Other countries will help us in the war on terror if they think it is in their interest to help us; whether they think we are nice people is irrelevant"

You should consider the possibility that someday we might want help from a country whose leaders have some respect for quaint things such as international law. And/or public opinion.
12.27.2007 7:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo: "We fought battles where, simply, prisoners were not taken, they were killed."

Please refer us to proof that prisoners were tortured, and that the torture was supported by official memos (at any prior time in US history, such as WWII). That's the situation we're in currently, so that's the relevant comparison.

"I doubt even you would contend that, given our brutal conduct, the world would be better off if Nazi Germany had won"

We defeated Nazi Germany without torturing prisoners (and certainly without torture of prisoners that had official support). If you can demonstrate otherwise, please do so.

"even if a huge number of your fellow citizens would die"

Please show proof that torture has ever saved a life.

"essentially broke a terrorist down in 30 seconds"

That depends who you ask:

… According to Kiriakou's account, which he said is based on detailed descriptions by fellow team members, Abu Zubaida broke after just 35 seconds of waterboarding

… But other former and current officials disagreed that Abu Zubaida's cooperation came quickly under harsh interrogation or that it was the result of a single waterboarding session. Instead, these officials said, harsh tactics used on him … went on for weeks or … even months.
12.27.2007 7:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "waterboarding does no physical damage"

Whether or not waterboarding causes "physical damage" is strictly a matter of duration. Waterboarding is a form of asphyxiation. All forms of asphyxiation are lethal, 100% of the time, for 100% of the human race, if sustained for even a rather short period.

Your statement is simply dishonest. An honest statement would be 'waterboarding does no physical damage, provided it doesn't last long.'

"it is reasonable to believe that there was a lot more going on than simple waterboarding. Thus, the massacre/waterboarding argument fails."

It's quite simple to kill someone via waterboarding. So you're wrong.

By the way, statutory definitions of torture do not concern themselves with the presence or absence of "physical damage."
12.27.2007 7:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo: "we have had still others who, while calling US soldiers every perjorative under the sun, profess that Zubayeh was just a mentally challenged gofer who made slurpee runs for OBL"

A 31-year FBI veteran, "who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida's capture," and who "helped lead the bureau's efforts against Osama bin Laden for a decade," is now on record saying that Abu Zubaida is "crazy" and that waterboarding him produced "crap." See here. Tell us what makes you smarter than Agent Coleman.

"I don't think folks are out there 'torturing' … for the hell of it"

Then you're not paying attention. We beat someone to death, even though we thought he was innocent, because we "thought it was funny" to hear him scream.

"I am afraid I am not going to slip into that cesspool, where Zubayeh is the innocent and we are the monsters."

Read about Dilawar and tell us who you think is the "innocent," and who are the "monsters."
12.27.2007 7:46pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dfp: "The argument here is how we provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare."

It turns out that there are laws (GC et al) that require us to "provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare." You obviously don't like that, which means you should work to change the law. But if you suggest ignoring the law, you're simply promoting lawlessness. Why do you hate democracy?

"The argument is how to make ourselves feel good about ourselves."

No, the argument is about whether or not to obey the law.
12.27.2007 7:47pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
sje: "Ah, the oft heard 'if you question us, you give aid and comfort to the enemy.' Lets see how well that logic applies when we have to unconditionally accept the secretive dealings of President Hillary."

We already know the answer. Here's something that Dubya said while Americans were being held as POWs: "victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." And many other GOP leaders made very similar remarks.

At the time, I have a funny feeling that folks like dfp did not cry out that "our uncivilized enemies are cetainly enjoying our lazy and cynical self-doubting."
12.27.2007 7:47pm
dfp21 (mail):
jukeboxgrad : "It turns out that there are laws (GC et al) that require us to "provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare.""

I've heard that there are GC articles that the U.S. never adopted. Is this one of them? Or maybe it's an ICRC proclamation? Those aren't the "law" no matter how much one wishes they were.

Insisting that the military abide by mystical "laws" that aren't is what I call lazy and cynical.
12.27.2007 8:25pm
Mark Field (mail):

I've heard that there are GC articles that the U.S. never adopted. Is this one of them?


In a word, no.
12.27.2007 8:41pm
Public_Defender (mail):

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't want to be. The argument here is how we provide protection to combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare. (no uniforms, hiding in civilian areas, etc.) The argument is how to make ourselves feel good about ourselves. Our uncivilized enemies are cetainly enjoying our lazy and cynical self-doubting.

How do you know that all the detainees at Gitmo are "combatants who REJECT western rules of warfare"? Isn't one of the main points of having fair tribunals to determine whether these guys really are who Bush claims they are?

If you're willing to take President Bush's word, would you equally accept the word of President Obama or President Hillary Clinton?
12.27.2007 8:42pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
dfp: "I've heard that there are GC articles that the U.S. never adopted. Is this one of them?"

No.

If you're interested in facts, as compared with what you've "heard," a good place to start is here.

"Insisting that the military abide by mystical 'laws' that aren't is what I call lazy and cynical."

Making arguments based on mystical things you've "heard," rather than facts, "is what I call lazy and cynical."
12.27.2007 8:44pm
Mark Field (mail):
Just to elaborate a bit, there are, in addition to the GC, laws against torture -- US laws -- which apply universally, i.e., regardless of the identity of the victim. Nobody disputes this; that's why Bush so often proclaims (falsely) that "we don't torture".
12.27.2007 8:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
mark: "there are, in addition to the GC, laws against torture -- US laws -- which apply universally, i.e., regardless of the identity of the victim"

Specifically, I think you're talking about US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C.
12.27.2007 8:58pm
sje:
"I've heard that there are GC articles that the U.S. never adopted. Is this one of them?"

No. Not only that, the US has prosecuted and executed foreigners for violations of the GC. I am not sure if anyone was executed for waterboarding, but they have been sentenced to hard labor and imprisonment. In the USA, waterboarding (in the Jim Crow South) has been declared as illegal, in US judicial opinions. Any way you slice it, there are a lot of activities carried out in the name of the GWOT that are illegal under US law.
12.27.2007 10:15pm
Mark Bahner (www):

there are a lot of activities carried out in the name of the GWOT that are illegal under US law


There is nothing in the supreme law of the land (the U.S. Constitution) that supports the idea of a "global war on terror."

Terrorism is a crime, nothing more.
12.28.2007 12:28am
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Really? How about this:
Article I, Section 8: "Congress shall have the power... To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;"

Anybody think that doesn't include Al Qaeda and its ilk?
12.28.2007 9:24am
Mark Field (mail):

Really? How about this:
Article I, Section 8: "Congress shall have the power... To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;"

Anybody think that doesn't include Al Qaeda and its ilk?


Of course it includes them. That's the clause which gives Congress -- not the President, Congress -- the right to criminalize their actions. As well as the offenses against the law of nations committed by the Bush Administration. Like war crimes.
12.28.2007 10:34am
ejo:
the real world reared its ugly head yesterday-you know, the one where we actually have enemies that we are fighting who would gladly love to get their hands on nuclear weapons. I guess when I compare our tactics to those of our enemies, I still think we come out looking pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good, just as was the case back when our savage ancestors fought WWII.

"On a less sarcastic note, in WWII, we lacked the ability to take out only military targets. In addition, the "civilians" we killed were at least arguably part of the war machine since they built the tanks and armaments used against US troops (or grew the food shipped to the soldiers fighting US troops)."-have you stumbled onto some new smart bomb I don't know about which only kills military targets? Why, then, do you favor policies which encourage our enemies who don't wear uniforms to hide among civilians. I do love the kill em all and let god sort time out about totally destroying the civilian support structure-you sound so totally right wing.
12.28.2007 2:01pm
PLR:
the real world reared its ugly head yesterday-you know, the one where we actually have enemies that we are fighting who would gladly love to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

We were attacked yesterday?
12.28.2007 3:13pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo: "the real world"

Ducking all sorts of fair questions directed at you (here, here and elsewhere) tells us a great deal about how you really feel about dealing with "the real world."
12.28.2007 3:55pm
ejo:
I say prisoners were not taken and you respond with whether torture memos were issued-that's ducking? more like silliness on your part, unless, somehow, torture would be considered "bad" while simply killing someone is okay. What would your preference be-35 seconds of water to the face or a bullet to the head? you throw in an anecdote about us beating someone to death for the fun of it-do you extrapolate that to mean every one of our service members is a bloodthirsty animal. I guess, if that is your point, it makes a bit of sense to point that out-is that your belief? it makes all of your other points more logical then, I suppose.
"we were attacked yesterday"-It probably never occurred to the murderers of Bhutto that they were striking back at the West. You are so right. I will withdraw that one. You guys win with your logic-I am now convinced we are in fact worse than our jihadist enemies.
12.28.2007 4:07pm
SJE:
EJO:

I agree that events in Pakistan are troubling, especially if some crazy militants get their hands on nuclear weapons. The question is how do we deal with it now, in the real world?

Centuries of military experience shows that a nation cannot win a guerrilla war against a determined enemy if that enemy has significant support among the civilian population. The breadth and depth of that support is determinative of the outcome of the conflict, which is why successfully combatting guerrilla warriors/terrorists requires a "hearts and minds" component. The failure of the USA to address the hearts and mind of others is not just a matter of "feeling good" but an important part of US foreign and military strategy.

To give a good example, one that directly looks at our fears regarding Pakistan, lets consider Osama Bin Laden.
The USA, with all its technology, firepower, money and influence still cannot find and kill Osama Bin Laden. This is despite him being 6'6" who is not all that healthy and (some say) needs regular dialysis and is believed to be hiding in either Afghanistan or Pakistan, both of which are US allies and the former having substantial U.S. troop presence. Why? Because he is (believed) living among people who are no fans of the USA or the West, and so is readily hidden and supported.

Extrapolate this lesson to the rest of the world, and consider how much more dangerous a world it is for Americans when more and more people get more and more pissed off.

THAT is the "real world"
12.28.2007 4:28pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
ejo: "I say prisoners were not taken and you respond with whether torture memos were issued-that's ducking?"

Indeed. I asked you several simple questions (here and here) and you're still declining to offer straight answers. Yes, "that's ducking."

"you throw in an anecdote about us beating someone to death for the fun of it-do you extrapolate that to mean every one of our service members is a bloodthirsty animal."

No, but nice job with the straw man. I'm not claiming that "every one of our service members is a bloodthirsty animal." I'm claiming, and have proven, that some of "our service members [are] bloodthirsty animal[s]." I guess you don't remember what you said. It was this:

I don't think folks are out there 'torturing' … for the hell of it


In other words, you essentially claimed that none of "our service members [are] bloodthirsty animal[s]." Trouble is, there are "folks … out there 'torturing' … for the hell of it." I just proved that what you "think" is based on pure ignorance.
12.28.2007 5:04pm
SJE:
"Trouble is, there are 'folks … out there 'torturing' … for the hell of it.' "

If these actions are condoned or covered up, rather than prosecuted, the USA signals that it considers these activities perfectly acceptable. This alienates our allies and strengthens our enemies.

This gets back to the same point I was making earlier: it is possible to be opposed to torture from a purely amoral and selfish perspective, because it (ultimately) hurts a nation's interest more than it helps.
12.28.2007 5:19pm
Smokey:
jukeboxgrad:
[Putatively quoting Smokey]: "it is reasonable to believe that there was a lot more going on than simple waterboarding. Thus, the massacre/waterboarding argument fails."
jukeboxgrad then responded to his own Dan Rather-style invented quote above by arguing:
It's quite simple to kill someone via waterboarding. So you're wrong.
But he was only responding to his own spin on what was quoted.

Actually, I posted [@3:32pm]:

"...waterboarding... was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623." [note the elipses]

Killing by waterboarding was never discussed. No fair trying to frame the argument that way [in my debate class, misrepresenting an argument would get a B - and there are only two grades available in Debate: A and B. Only one of them is passing].

I was simply calling that particular poster on his apparent premise that waterboarding was the noteworthy event he referred to -- when in fact, it was the massacre that was noteworthy. Misstating a quote by leaving out a pertinent fact in order to make an argument only weakens what might otherwise be a reasonable point.
12.28.2007 5:58pm
Smokey:
SJE:
It is wrong to merely characterize this as a dispute between the boss and a lowly employee. Brig-Gen Hartman is Col. Davis's boss, true. However, as a Colonel, Davis is only one rank below his boss. Few officers make Colonel, indicating that Davis has several qualities not normally found in other officers...
Oh, please. You don't even want to go there.

The fact that one disguntled officer was found means exactly nothing. Unless, of course, you'd like to discuss Weasley Clark, or Colin Powell - and the number of angstroms separating their lips and Bill Clinton's butt.
12.28.2007 6:11pm
SJE:
Smokey: yes I DO want to go there.

The opinions on one disgrunted officer means (by itself) very little. However
(1) Col. Davis was the Chief Prosecutor at GITMO, not a lowly flunky
(2) He is not the only military or intelligence officer who has spoken out or resigned over similar allegations made by Col. Davis
(3) Col. Davis's statements go to the possibility of illegal (ie criminal) activity by the executive
(4) His statements also occur in the contexts of other investigations, including by Congress.

If his statements mean absolutely nothing, how come Brig Gen Hartman refused to allow Davis to testify before Congress and, to this day, has not addressed the substantial issues raised by Davis. This is the sort of weasiliness we see all too often by politicians of both parties: I would hope for better from the military.

As for the actions of Clark, Powell, Petraeus, Hartman or any officer of the U.S. military: I may or may not agree with their statements, but any statement they make I am not going to dismiss as "means exactly nothing."
12.28.2007 6:31pm
Anonymous Reader:
SJE,

Has Col Davis resigned his commission? I'm just asking a question that I don't know the answer to. If he did, good on him. That would show the strength of his convictions. It would show that he did everything in his power to fix the problems and issues from within before going through outside channels. And believe me, bosses do not like people to go through outside channels, ESPECIALLY if they did not have an opportunity to address those concerns or if they were unwarranted.

If he did not resign his commission, that should also be taken into account against him. Is he such an opportunist? I don't know. But finding out the answer to my first question would be a good start.

As for those who think resigning your commission is difficult, it isn't.

Anonymous Reader
12.28.2007 8:15pm
MarkField (mail):

Has Col Davis resigned his commission?


Yes, according to Wikipedia. Link.
12.28.2007 8:45pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "Putatively quoting Smokey"

You seem to be claiming that you didn't say the words I claimed you said. But you did, here.

And you're going to great lengths to avoid dealing with the false premise you promoted. Let's look again at what you said:

Since waterboarding does no physical damage, it is reasonable to believe that there was a lot more going on than simple waterboarding. Thus, the massacre/waterboarding argument fails.


You seemed to be saying that it's simply not possible to waterboard someone to death ("waterboarding does no physical damage"), so therefore it's simply not possible to conduct a massacre via waterboarding.

The issue is not whether waterboarding killed 1% or 100% of the people (in the mentioned massacre). The issue is that you made up your own fact ("waterboarding does no physical damage"), and then used this phony 'fact' to essentially claim that you know the answer is 0%.

And even this bogus point of yours is quite pointless, since the original claim was merely this:

waterboarding... was used by the Dutch East India Company during the Amboyna Massacre of 1623


No one claimed that nothing happened other than waterboarding. So your statement ("there was a lot more going on than simple waterboarding") is a pointless straw-man argument.

And of course in your usual style you're completely ducking what was said here. Waterboarding does in fact cause "physical damage" (including death), 100% of the time, if it's sustained for longer than a brief period.

"The fact that one disguntled officer was found means exactly nothing."

It's nice to know that you're so inclined to show respect for the opinions of those who serve. I guess you just reserve that respect for those in the military who agree with you.
12.28.2007 9:38pm
Smokey:
jukeboxgrad:

When jukeboxgrad learns to quote honestly, he can wake us. However, since he has um... issues, no doubt he'll go on *ahem* 'adjusting' his mendacious quotes.

In the mean time, here, he can go play kissyface with one of his poor, misunderstood cronies.

And re: jbg's snark:
"It's nice to know that you're so inclined to show respect for the opinions of those who serve."
I served, jamoke. And 'serve' is the operative word that your disgruntled pal doesn't understand. Serving in the military doesn't mean you get to be a hotshot and countermand your superiors -- that's called "insubordination." And that is why your buddy got out before his deliberate insubordination caught up with him.

BTW -- I wonder what jbg's military service was? Chickenhawk Regiment, maybe? REMF? Inquiring minds want to know.
12.29.2007 5:10pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
smokey: "When jukeboxgrad learns to quote honestly"

Any day now, you'll explain what was wrong with how I quoted you. Your original remark is here. I quoted you here, and pointed out that you made a statement that was dishonest. Your incoherent whining which ducked the central issue appeared here. I then reminded you that you ducked the central issue (which is that you had made a dishonest statement). Which you're still doing.

"In the mean time, here, he can go play kissyface with one of his poor, misunderstood cronies."

I realize that changing the subject is much easier than explaining why you said something dishonest.

And one more time, here's what you said:

waterboarding does no physical damage


As I explained here, that statement is dishonest. We see you're not going to address that. You're simply continuing in your usual style of ignoring what you can't refute. And disappearing when it's shown that you've been posting baloney.

"Serving in the military doesn't mean you get to be a hotshot and countermand your superiors"

Since you served, you should be able to remember that you swore to protect the Constitution. That means if your superiors are betraying the Constitution, you're not being "a hotshot" when you "countermand" them. You're simply remembering your oath.
12.29.2007 9:57pm
Smokey:
Ah. A chickenhawk.

Thought so.
12.30.2007 5:44pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Ah. A coward who posts nonsense and then tries really hard to change the subject. I thought so.

Smokey, hopefully you can tell us about the planet where asphyxiation causes "no physical damage."

Maybe it's the same planet you visit to find bogus quotes.
12.30.2007 10:28pm