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On “Down in the Dungeon with the Torture Trolls (warning: rated J for Japanese graphic violence)

What would the Founders do in this situation?

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Are you talking about the same founders who hanged Muslim pirates without trials?

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This isn’t about legality, this isn’t about being proper. This is about political power and demonstrations of it, pure and simple.

Fighton03 on April 24, 2009 at 8:17 PM

It is not a matter of politics for me.
Like I have said repeatedly, release all the memos and let the judiciary decide.
What would the Founders do in this situation?

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Torture done on a regular/uniform basis by an organization (i.e. it’s a common fallback)? That’s what I think you’re getting at.

No insult intended. Just wanting a definition.

Further more, some of these pansies being interrogated will call it torture no matter what we do.

Chaz706 on April 24, 2009 at 8:12 PM

For example, we defined "water torture" already. The Bybee memos attempt to redefine the practice as not-torture. It became SOP with government approved equipment, trained personnel, procedures, protocols, and funding.
Systemic, institutionalized torture.

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This is no longer a matter of law, it's a matter of politics. Obama made it one. I'm surprised you don't see the pattern yet. First it was wall street (actually first it was an inoculation against criticism using his race). Publish lots of memos, hold press conferences, explain half the story. Stoke the rage machine, then turn around and in a closed do meeting make sure the bankers know he's "the only one between them and the pitchforks". Now it's the lawyer and officials who could organize against him. So here we go again. But this time it's going global.

This isn't about legality, this isn't about being proper. This is about political power and demonstrations of it, pure and simple.

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At some point you cross the line between being a bystander and being an accomplice. They knew what was going on! All those who would’ve fought against it had already started fighting, or died doing so.

Chaz706 on April 24, 2009 at 7:54 PM

But that is not my point....my point is that the soldiers were so horrified by the results of torture that they forgot their training and shot unarmed men.
Would they want us to have institutionalized torture?

I'm pretty sure WWII paratroopers might have pistol whipped some intell out captured prisoners. But that was extralegal, spontaneous, and in-situ.
And neccessary.

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strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 8:08 PM

I will take you at your words, though I will ask what is "institutionalized torture". Torture done on a regular/uniform basis by an organization (i.e. it's a common fallback)? That's what I think you're getting at.

No insult intended. Just wanting a definition.

Further more, some of these pansies being interrogated will call it torture no matter what we do.

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Guardian on April 24, 2009 at 7:55 PM

At some point, tolerance goes out the window.

Hath not the master said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword." This was not a sword of violence but of separation. At some point, the good will be separated from the bad. Not that I say this will happen simply because God hath said so (though he hath said it), but sadly, it is the nature of man to devolve into warring tribes and cut each others throats.

At some point, one side will be irreconcilably separated from another by their own actions. Then what? Do we excuse their intolerable acts? Do we make peace with a foe who wishes us death?

The founding fathers thought otherwise. Our declaration of independence gives us the duty to.

At some point, tolerance MUST go out the window and inevitably replaced with war.

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Bush could’ve used the psychological model of enhanced interrogation and many in the opposition would’ve still spoken out against it. What would you have said then?

Me? nothing. I am against INSTITUTIONALIZED TORTURE.
Is the psychological model of enhanced interrogation torture? I think that is what the Israelis use actually.

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Dr. Manhattan on April 24, 2009 at 6:39 PM

Suspects often left the interrogation cells legless with fear after an all-night grilling. An inspired amateur psychologist, Stephens used every trick, lie and bullying tactic to get what he needed; he deployed threats, drugs, drink and deceit. But he never once resorted to violence. “Figuratively,” he said, “a spy in war should be at the point of a bayonet.” But only ever figuratively. As one colleague wrote: “The Commandant obtained results without recourse to assault and battery. It was the very basis of Camp 020 procedure that nobody raised a hand against a prisoner.”
Stephens did not eschew torture out of mercy. This was no squishy liberal: the eye was made of tin, and the rest of him out of tungsten. (Indeed, he was disappointed that only 16 spies were executed during the war.) His motives were strictly practical. “Never strike a man. It is unintelligent, for the spy will give an answer to please, an answer to escape punishment. And having given a false answer, all else depends upon the false premise.”...

Threats, drugs, drink and deceit....do you what oxytocin is? sodium pentathol? cannabis? Oxytocin is a neuro-hormone that can be used for empathy bonding.
We should be using those techniques...they don't to be redefined like water torture, which is what we called it when the Viet Cong and the Japanese did it to our men.
Let me make it clear.
Torture is illegal in America.
Release all the memos.
Let the DoJ decide.

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Frankly I feel that our tolerance of trolls and dissenters is what separates us from the left.

Dr. Manhattan on April 24, 2009 at 7:29 PM

No. Tolerance is the left.

The line between intellectual discourse and pointless trolling has been crossed so many times already. And it's a big broad line at that.

Tolerance is what keeps us divided. To put up with crap in the name of tolerance is what got us into this mess. There comes a point where you make a stand. This far and no more.

Tolerance will get you gay marriages, Presidential bowing before Islamic Kings, trillion dollar deficits and countless capitulations that further weaken our country and economy.

Tolerance will get you killed on a battlefield and tolerance will destroy the country if left unchecked.

This whole country was founded on the Principles of intolerance. I'm hanging on to those values.

F**k tolerance. It way too expensive and way over rated.

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I recommend the Churchill model.

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 7:35 PM

I like the Psychological approach. It's far more effective... but what happens when that's spoken out against?

One must draw a line at some point and stick to it no matter who or what persuades him (or her) otherwise.

The thing I'm getting at is this: Bush could've used the psychological model of enhanced interrogation and many in the opposition would've still spoken out against it. What would you have said then?

If there is anything I hate about trolls, it's a decided lack of inconsistency? Not that I'm calling you one Strangelet, but consistency from all people isn't too much to ask.

And lastly, about the Germans at Dachau... they knew what was going on and said nothing, did nothing, and expected nothing. I'm not sure who was more naive: the Americans doing the shooting or the Germans that got shot?

At some point you cross the line between being a bystander and being an accomplice. They knew what was going on! All those who would've fought against it had already started fighting, or died doing so.

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This cowardice of “let that guy take the fall” is unserious.

Lehosh on April 24, 2009 at 6:40 PM

No...that is a personal decision. It every man's own choice to be Ivan or Alyosha.
"Following orders" is a cop-out.
I'm Alyosha.
I neither rely on the Highlander to be Ivan or judge him if he is.
Freewill.

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The Highlander helped me understand what bothers me so much.
It is the institutionalization of torture as part of established American policy.

And strangelet has already decided that torture is whatever the Bushies did because the Bushies are bad Republicans. It is a rather inverted kind of logic, but what can you expect from the morbidly partisan?

Terrye on April 24, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Like I said, release ALL the memos and let the DoJ decide.
There is a thought experiment I'm fond of....what would the Founders do?

I think Obama should step out of this entirely.
The debate should not be partisan.

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Strangelet how should we interrogate? Should we, even?

Dr. Manhattan on April 24, 2009 at 6:39 PM

I recommend the Churchill model.

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Guardian

Frankly I feel that our tolerance of trolls and dissenters is what separates us from the left. We want real dialouge, not false consensus. I will agree though that Allah and pals drum up friction in the pursuit of hits and comments. but that is the nature of all advertiser or hit-supported media. Controversy is it's lifeblood, much like democracy.

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The Torturous Debate--sort of....

Gary Kamiya does us a favor, sort of. He admits, and offers examples, that torture can be effective, it can glean useful information. He even makes a distinction between torture and abuse, a nuance that the nuance community has not, heretofore, bee.....

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And strangelet has already decided that torture is whatever the Bushies did because the Bushies are bad Republicans. It is a rather inverted kind of logic, but what can you expect from the morbidly partisan?

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And you know something? Thanks to the navel gazing and so called journalistic obsession with this topic, the people we do pick up have a very good idea what to expect. In fact they use these techniques on each other in order to toughen each other up. They discuss the use of media and human rights groups and international lawyers.

They do this because they know how good it makes people feel about themselves to pretend moral superiority. After all, strangelet is not risking anything.

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And actually that was not Buchenwald, it was Dachau.

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strangelet:

Are you condoning war crimes? Because technically the incident of shooting unarmed Germans was just that.

And no one is talking about putting terrorists in death camps and gas chambers.

This is what makes the discussion so bizarre, the constant need of people such as yourself to exaggerate, lie, and invent.

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A new Rasmussen survey suggests that the Democrats are barking up the wrong tree with their obsessive interest in the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. At this point, at least, common sense reigns:

* 58 percent of voters say the Obama administration's recent release of DOJ memos "endangers the national security of the United States." Fewer than half as many 28 percent, think it "helps America's image abroad." (This suggests that Obama's apology tour hasn't been especially well-received, either.)

* 70 percent also say America's legal system either does a good job of weighing security against individual rights, or puts too much emphasis on individual rights at the expense of security. Only 21 percent say the legal system is "too concerned about protecting national security."

* Only 28 percent want the Obama administration to investigate how the Bush administration treated terrorists. 58 percent want no such investigations.

* Obama's decision to close Guantanamo Bay is now disapproved of by a 46-36 margin, with support for Obama's action declining.

Oh, the Humanity!

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It's bad enough that trolls are allowed to stay and screw up the site. Now we have trolls running the blog too.

This place is going to the dogs dregs.

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Sure, go jackbauer.
But do it in-situ, in theatre, and in the extremity of need.

strangelet on April 24, 2009 at 6:27 PM

So... is it ok, or is it not ok? Either it's worth it, or it's not. This cowardice of "let that guy take the fall" is unserious.

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Strangelet how should we interrogate? Should we, even?

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When you do it.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.

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