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Believe Me, It's Torture: Christopher Hitchens, on Waterboarding

Original post made by Mike, the one and only, College Terrace, on Jul 2, 2008

Web Link

Hitchens, no wilting violet, says it like it is, putting the lie to those who say waterboarding isn't torture, and destroying their weak rationales for continuing this inhumane activity.

Comments (89)

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Posted by Dr. Ferragamo
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 2, 2008 at 1:38 pm


What a pity Hitchens has served as a "media fellow" at the Hoover Institution.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Mike,

You left out this part:

"When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay".

That was Hitchen's quote of those, who he highly admires, and use the mothods to get to the truth.

The real weakness in Hitchen's article is that he doubts/underplays that real intel (that has laready saved many inocent lives) was gained from the few times waterboarding has been used on top al qaeda thugs. He knows better than this.

Actually, most of the article was about his own experience, then his opinions.

Mike, you like to use very selective quotes or limited data to drive a major point. I would invite anyone who is interested to read Hitchen's article. Thanks for providing it.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 2, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Gary, might I suggest that YOU read the entire article, including Hitchen's conclusion in the last paragraph...
"I had only a very slight encounter on that frontier, but I still wish that my experience were the only way in which the words "waterboard" and "American" could be mentioned in the same (gasping and sobbing) breath."

That says it all. Qualify THAT.


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 3, 2008 at 3:15 am

So, Mike, exactly what conditions justify denying another the freedom of movement?


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Posted by read before deleted.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 4, 2008 at 7:20 am

The best thing to do is simply not answer Mike or "a" when they write. Then, their posts become like little turds in the forest, they just dry up and turn into dust, instead of piling higher and higher.

My last post on this was deleted, yet it was more nicely written. Along the lines of "ignore the troll". Maybe it is now illegal to say the word "troll".


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Heinlein once wrote that a man shoots his own dog. I would add that an ersatz man whines while the dog dies in agony.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 4, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Take it up with Hitchens; he's been there, and you haven't. Until you have, your argument for claiming that waterboarding is not torture is just empty words.


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Waterboarding - coercive interrogation? Yes. Torture? Not by the classic definition of torture. Just depriving me of freedom of movement would be "torture"; reading some of the silliness here by people who have never had to do anything unpleasant in their own lives is "torture". As for "having been there..." has Hitchens ever captured enemy soldiers and been responsible for their custody? Has Hitchens ever had to make a kill or be killed decision? Hitchens played a game. I played for real. Empty words indeed. You stick with Hitchens, I go with Heinlein. Kipling and Hoffer; and, of course, with personal experience.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

What's the classic definition you refer to, Walter? Just checking - if enemies extensively waterboarded American POWs, you are ok with that, correct? Not a war crime, not illegal, no basis for condemnation?


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Walter, just to make sure you heard it.

'Hitchens; he's been there, and you haven't. Until you have, your argument for claiming that waterboarding is not torture is just empty words."

Also, "me too" has an excellent point. And you call yourself a patriot?


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 5, 2008 at 6:22 pm

To make it clear, I am sure that Walter is a patriot and I respect his opinions, on this and other topics. Mocking doesn't make a lot of sense on most subjects, even less so on the topic here.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2008 at 10:02 pm

There's a difference between mocking, and strong challenges made to opinions that challenge the very underpinning of human rights. Anyone who endorses torture in a democracy should have their claim to patriotism challenged. I'm tired of so-called patriots making claims for the carrying on of certain activities by our government that challenge the very notion of what a democracy is. Hitler was a patriot, too.


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 5, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Mike, may I ask if you are a veteran who served in combat overseas? I am not. I believe Walter is.

I think calling into question the patriotism of anyone, but even more so a war veteran, in the context of a policy debate is truly demogogic, disrespectful, and almost disgusting.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2008 at 2:40 am

Me too, I will repeat: "I'm tired of so-called patriots making claims for the carrying on of certain activities by our government that challenge the very notion of what a democracy is"

I don't care if Audie Murphy himself suggests that torture is an acceptable means of action by a military force that represents what is supposed to be the highest standard bearer of human rights, the United States of America. It's *traitorous* to the core ideals that this nation stands for to condone torture, just as it's traitorous for anyone to condone the suspension of habeus corpus within the borders of our own nation.

You appear to want to engage in intellectual relativism on this issue, but I don't - and won't.

So, I will happily draw this line in the sand for you. *Anyone* who proposes that the United States of America is a country that should condone, support, or engage in torturing prisoners of war is someone who is actively undermining the very core ideals that this nation was built on, and that we stand on as a nation. The great, sad, irony in this is that many individuals who fought in past wars (and the current war) condone torture. In doing so, they diminish the good work they did in the past, as they actively choose to undermine the very freedoms they fought for. they are traitors to their own past, and to Americans who count on their soldiers to act and fight with honor.

Does that help clear it up for you?


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Posted by relativism at its finest
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2008 at 7:13 am

Mike, You are claiming that those of us stating that waterboarding is not torture are the ones who "want to engage in intellectual relativism on this issue"..not realizing that your very premise that it is torture is relativism at its finest.

Some of us know definitions, some of us don't. Relativism brings in changing the definitions of such words as torture and marriage, conservatism doesn't. Again, scaring the hell out of someone ( or humiliating him) is not torture. In the case of waterboarding, it is scaring the hell out of someone. That is what waterboarding does..scares the hell out of the person that they are going to drown. We do not electrocute, flay, remove body parts et al in training our soldiers..we DO waterboard them. Don't you think that is a clue as to what it is?

So, again, you are the one engaging in relativism.


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Posted by relativism at its finest
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2008 at 7:16 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 6, 2008 at 10:19 am

Mike I was clear before thanks. Apparently you are not a combat veteran. While Walter does not need our support, you are way out of line questioning his patriotism. It reflects poorly on this discussion, our community, and of course you. Clear?


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2008 at 11:27 am

Mike, Abe Lincoln is reputed to have asked the question "If you call a dog's tail a leg, how any legs does he have. When the answer was five, Abe responded "Nope, four. Just because you call a tail a leg does not make it one."
If the measure of torture is the unpleasantness, then we can never limit anyone. What if someone is in agony because you have money and he has none - will you torture him by not giving him your money? Before you redefine a word think of the unintended consequences.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Doesn't it make you feel just great to know that our people were trained to use Communist Chinese torture techniques? Techniques that resulted in false information and were condemned by the U.S. Web Link


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Peter,

The central question, best answered by the NY Times, is:

If waterboarding, or sleep deprivation, etc. was used on al qaeda agents, prior to 9/11, and the Twin Towers were not attacked as a result, would you aprrove of such methods?

The issue is no more complex than that.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Gary, Walter, Me Too, and RAIF, There's nothing like challenging the essential assumptions of those who wave their "patriot" flag in support of the most disgusting practices; there's always a dust storm of indignation that results, because one is challenging a kind of "true believer" mentality about something that we know doesn't even work in the large long run.

So, it's been amusing to watch the unpatriots (supporters of torture) scramble to hold on to their religious beliefs about torture. It's also ironic that Walter suggests reading Eric Hoffer on this issue, because Walter and the rest currently exhibit exactly the *opposite* of what Hoffer would have suggested in this case. I think a lot of "follower" types like to quote Hoffer because he was a no-nonsense longshoreman/social commentator/philosopher, with the "followers" here wanting to live vicariously through "tough-guy image of the longshoreman image that Hoffer earned, and deserved. There's a delicious irony in having Walter quote Hoffer. (and it's why I quote Hoffer, above, to help Walter and the others see themselves in that mirror)

We all know where this pro-torture attitude, this "follow the leader" (follow the Bush) mentality - especially as we start to abuse human rights - leads. It leads to Pol Pot, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, or Mao, and worse.

America doesn't need "patriots" who want to strip away the very fundamentals that make free patriotism, as opposed to nationalism, possible.

Essentially, the pro-torture crowd is in league with those they constantly claim to most revile. They speak glibly, at a distance from the horrific pain, near-death, and real psychological scarring of OFTEN INNOCENT victims of said torture. Some of them say they've "been there", but not ONE has ever been waterboarded. I call this hypocrisy.

This is another delicious irony, and "end-game", if you will, that leaves all the pro-torture crowd cowering in their debate corners, unable to move because they've painted themselves into those corners, in a way that results in double-bind personal embarrassment if they retract their decisions.

There's a lot of social psychological dynamic at play in those that support torture. I wish I had the time to bring it forward.

The pro-torture (and waterboarding IS torture) crowd would rather give in to the fear that comes from feeling threatened, rather than using their god-given intelligence to override the initial impulses of their respective limbic systems.

America has a problem, both with terrorism, and the ugly underbelly of our great nation that the fear of terrorism breeds. It breeds fear, and some, like those that endorse terror and the stripping away of human rights, give into that fear, thinking they are "saving" their nation, even as they contribute to the corrosive influences that the very terrorists they revile have predicted would come to pass as a result of terrorism.

Those that support torture, support terror. They're not patriotic, they're fearful souls that are doing far more harm to their homeland than the enemies they purport to revile.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Gary, "If waterboarding, or sleep deprivation, etc. was used on al qaeda agents, prior to 9/11, and the Twin Towers were not attacked as a result, would you aprrove of such methods?"

Another false example. We knew some of the perpetrators; it would have been enough to arrest them, and stop the invasion cold.

Still another false premise put forward by the torture crowd is that the person they are torturing is the one that they want, or the one who has the information. That's most often NOT the case.

Again, support for torture is support for terror, and helps build a case against America while destroying America's core values.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2008 at 4:25 pm

"We knew some of the perpetrators; it would have been enough to arrest them, and stop the invasion cold."

What a load of nonsense!

We arrested the first set of bombers of the Twin Towers, in 1993, then we took them to trial, instead of treating it as an act of war, which it was. If we had waterboaded them, especially the blind sheikh, we would have gotten a whole lot more.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Gary "We arrested the first set of bombers of the Twin Towers, in 1993, then we took them to trial, instead of treating it as an act of war, which it was. If we had waterboaded them, especially the blind sheikh, we would have gotten a whole lot more."

How do you know? This is a perfect example of the faulty assumption called "we've got the right man". It's been shown to be almost universally false in interrogation.

Had we simply commandeered the perpetrators that we already knew about - or had suspicions about - just prior to 9/11, we would have had a great chance to abate or prevent 9/11.

All that said, supporters of torture are anything but patriotic, no matter their background. Their support for torture undermines the very foundations of democracy.

Torture = terrorism. Ergo, torturers are terrorists.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2008 at 7:57 pm

"How do you know?"

Because we ended up with 9/11. The intel was not good enough, because we operated with one-hand tied behind our back. What a shame.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Mike, why not just respond to my question - what is the permissible limit on coercion of a prisoner?


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Walter, I won't enter into a parsing contest, not about levels of human suffering. You might re-examine the Milgram Web Link or Zimbardo Web Link experiments.

We are all diminished when torture is condoned. That's the bottom line. Hitchens (and others) have gone through the considerable trouble of putting themselves at physical risk to inform their (open) minds. You might try honoring that, and restore your claim to being a true patriot.


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2008 at 6:57 am

Mike, you still have not answered the question of when detaining someone becomes torture and when it is reasonable to detain someone. When the discussion is whether torture is permissible, to refuse to discuss the definition is looking under the lamppost when the keys were lost in the shadows.


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Posted by Honestly askinng Mike
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 7, 2008 at 11:24 am

yes, please draw the exact line when detaining becomes torture..draw the exact amount of coersive interrogation that is morally acceptable to you, Mike, before you define it as torture.

Is extremely loud, painful, non-stop noise torture? Sleep deprivation? 100 degree or 55 degree cell temperature? Minimal necessary caloric intake for survival? Use of fear, like blindfolding and then telling someone they are hanging over a pit of vipers? Scaring someone into believing that they are hooked up to electrodes? Threatening to put a man in a jail with rapists? Threatening to send someone somewhere that uses all the more well defined torture techniques?

Please, clarify exactly how far you would go to prevent someone from harming/killing someone you love.

I am honestly asking, not baiting. I really, really want to know how far is "ok" with you. Where is you moral line? Or do you say that NOTHING is the only acceptable way, and it is better to let innocents die and suffer? Again, I am not baiting, I really want to know. Are you a Friend, who would not fight to defend yourself or someone you love? Are you driven by a particular religious belief?

When, exactly, do you become diminished? How far are you, personally, willing to go to defend the innocent?

In other words, I am asking for your definition of torture, which you haven't given yet.



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Posted by Not Black and White
a resident of Ohlone School
on Jul 7, 2008 at 11:27 am

Mike, also...would someone have to put themselves into the position of trying being electrocuted, flayed, having body parts removed, raped, burned etc to understand that it is torture? No.

So, are you willing to acknowledge that maybe it isn't a black and white issue, as you try to make it?

Calling those of us who say waterboarding is not torture is like calling those of us who are pro-choice "pro abortion". Or against abortion "anti-choice". You can be "pro choice" and know that abortion stops a human life, and you can be "pro-life" and know that sometimes a woman has to abort.

You are too black and white, Mike.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Dewey
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 10, 2008 at 6:34 pm

"please draw the exact line when detaining becomes torture."

Waterboarding is torture. So let's start by checking that off the list. Now, go take some vitamin B and calm down.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2008 at 1:39 am

I'd say waterboarding qualifies as "cruel and unusual punishment"--your making someone undergo the early stages of the drowning process.

Make someone undergo the automatic fear and panic of drowning is cruel. It's certainly not normal--we have no history of doing this in our prison system--though I suppose it's a bit akin to dunking a supposed witch.

Yeah, the Bill of Rights has always been a bit unusual in the protections it grants. But it's there--and the fact that we've been outsourcing our physical abuse of suspected terrorists makes it pretty darn clear that what's been going on *is* a violation of our Constitution and those involved know it.

Doesn't matter if *you* think it's an effective interrogation strategy--hey, nuking Pakistan and Afghanistan would rid us of lots of terrorists--it's a basic violation of our rule of law. It is deeply Un-American.






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Posted by Draw the Exact Line
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2008 at 6:34 am

OP, I am disappointed in you. You normally think quite clearly and don't resort to silly extremes in rhetoric.

Akin to dunking a supposed witch? C'mon: the witch died if she was innocent, and was burned alive as guilty if she didn't die from drowning. I don't think it is comparable.

Cruel does not make it torture.

Locking someone up in a prison is also cruel, but is it torture?

Threatening someone ( making them undergo the fear of...)with the death sentence if they don't plea bargain is cruel, is it torture?

Inducing a panic by tasering a suspect to stop him ( instead of, say, shooting him) is cruel, but is it torture?

And please, can you find ANY source that isn't hearsay that shows we have been outsourceing our "physical abuse" of suspected terrorists? Or is America and our Military not part of the "innocent until proven guilty" part of our Justice system? I can guarantee you that if anyone anywhere had proven that we had done this, it would have been on the front page of every paper in the world for weeks.

The only "outsourcing" that has happened has been when the Left forced us to leave Abu Graib ( remember the prisoners begging us to stay, knowing what they faced?) and will happen again when the Left forces us to shut down Guantanomo ( where the prisoners eat better and are more comfortable than our military...where do you think the prisoners will go when we shut it down?)

And, last question..since when does our Constitution protect non-citizens?

So please come up with exactly how far you would go with a strongly suspected terrorist ( we have used waterboarding 3 times in 6 years, and have saved untold, literally, number of lives as a result) to save the life of your family. Please look at the list in the above posts and tell me where you draw the line.

If you still draw the line before waterboarding, then what is acceptable to you that isn't too cruel or panic inducing?

And don't be silly with the rhetorical snide remarks about nuking being an effective interrogation strategy. You are too smart to do that. Be serious.

Basic rules we all agree on for acceptable interrogation of exgtremely strongly obvious suspects...no death: no loss of any parts of the body, no matter how small: no burning/electricity of anything: no freezing of anything: no actual physical damage/scarring: no rape or other forms of sexual abuse..

For me that leaves: Scaring the crap out of someone is ok.


ok, how much panic, fear and humiliation are you willing to inflict to save your family?

If you do not think it is "American" to cause the fear of drowning, what fear is ok to use?

Remember, you are dealing with people who are set on killing as many of your family as possible. You can't just ask them where the bomb is.

Ok, waiting for the line


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 13, 2008 at 11:35 pm

Draw the Exact Line,

I'm very clear on this one. Waterboarding is cruel and unusual punishment. We would never treat our prisoners this way.

You can parse "torture" all you want--I'm quoting the Bill of Rights. It's quite clear waterboarding would be "cruel and unusual" punishment.

We imprison people--physical coercion, such as waterboarding, where someone "confesses" because they're afraid they're drowning has not been among our accepted interrogation techniques.

And I am being serious--nuking Pakistan and Afghanistan would eradicate a large chunk of Al Qaeda.

But, of course, at what cost? Same issue here. At what point does it become all right to incarcerate people indefinitely without a trial? Without charges? Without due process?

When we're too afraid?

At what point do you sacrifice the rights of the individual?

Look, I'm well aware that people are willing to throw the Bill of Rights to the winds when they get scared of the big, bad terrorists and can't conceive that other methods of interrogation can be persuasive.

We didn't need waterboarding to win WWII. We don't need it now.

And whether you like it or not, we have a long established rule of law that bans such things.

Do you realize that you are making the same arguments that are always made by authoritarian regimes? That individual rights must be sacrificed for public safety?

I don't buy it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Draw the exact line.
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2008 at 7:42 am

OP, you are far too stuck in your circular template thinking to hear yourself.

Here is how you are off track in your logic. Your statements are first, mine are in caps.

Waterboarding is cruel and unusual punishment. IT ISN'T FOR PUNISHMENT, BUT FOR INFO

We would never treat our prisoners this way. THESE ARE NOT PRISONERS, DO NOT MAKE THE SAME ERROR THAT MANY MAKE.

we have a long established rule of law that bans such things FIND ME THE LAW PLEASE

I am quoting the Bill of Rights: ONE, FIND IT PLEASE IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS, AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, FIND ME WHERE THERE IS A BILL OF RIGHTS FOR NON-CITIZENS. IF YOU ARE GOING TO SAY THAT IT IS OUR JOB TO PROVIDE THE BILL OF RIGHTS TO ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, THEN I WILL AGREE WITH YOU, AND IF WE GET ENOUGH MILITARY VOLUNTEERS, SUPPORT US GOING OUT AND OVERTHROWING EVERY DICTATOR IN THE WORLD, AND TEACHING EVERY PERSON WHAT THEIR RIGHTS ARE.

We didn't need waterboarding to win WWII. We don't need it now. OK< TELL YOU WHAT, LET'S WIN THIS ONE HOW WE WON WW2, BY CARPET BOMBING ENTIRE CITIES AND BLOWING UP A-BOMBS TO FINALLY KILL MORE PEOPLE THAN "THEY" DID SO THEY SUBMIT. KILLING MANY INNOCENTS CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF A VERY HIGH PROBABILITY GUILTY ONE.

Do you realize that you are making the same arguments that are always made by authoritarian regimes? That individual rights must be sacrificed for public safety? FALSE PREMISE: WHAT RIGHT DOES ANYONE HAVE TO NOT HAVE THE CRAP SCARED OUT OF THEM? YOU ARE CONFUSING YOUR ISSUES. DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT NONE OF US HAS LIMITLESS "RGTHS"? WE ALWAYS BALANCE OUR INDIVIDUAL "RIGHTS" (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH WISHES AND DESIRES) WITH THE "RIGHTS" OF OTHERS. DO YOU NOT REALIZE THAT ALL OF OUR PRISONERS HAVE LOST THEIR "RIGHTS", SOME OF THEM EVEN FOREVER LOSING THEIR "RIGHTS" TO VOTE AND DO MANY TYPES OF JOBS? DO YOU ALSO REALIZE THAT YOU ARE POSITING THAT NO LOSS OF "RIGHTS" OF HIGH CONFIDENCE TERRORISTS IS WORTH THE LOSS OF INNOCENTS? PLEASE MAKE IT PERSONAL THEN DECIDE WHAT YOU WOULD DO. I WOULD WATERBOARD TO SAVE MY KIDS. SIMPLE.

At what point does it become all right to incarcerate people indefinitely without a trial? Without charges? Without due process? WHEN THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS AND WE CANNOT TRUST THEIR OWN GOVTS TO MANAGE THEM IN A WAY THAT WILL KEEP US AND OTHER INNOCENTS SAFE, WHEN HANDING THEM OVER TO IRAQIS SURELY MEANS MUCH WORSE TREATMENT GIVEN THE CULTURE, WHEN THEY ARE CAUGHT WITH THE DETONATOR IN THEIR HANDS ON THE FIELD, WHEN 30% OF THOSE RELEASED ARE RECAPTURED ON THE BATTLEFIELD AGAIN, HAVING JUST KILLED INNOCENTS, WHEN THEY ARE TREATED BETTER THAN THOSE WHO ARE GUARDING THEM, WHEN WE DON'T WANT TO RISK OUR LIVES BY PUTTING THEM ON PUBLIC TRIAL IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, BRINGING THEM INTO MARTYRDOM AND WHIPPING UP FRENZY BECAUSE OF OUR LOVELY MEDIA. WE DO NOT OWE ANYONE OUTSIDE OUR COUNTRY DUE PROCESS, PERIOD. WE OWE NOBODY ELSE ANYTHING AT ALL.

TELL YOU WHAT, PRETEND YOU ARE ON AN ISLAND AND THERE IS NOBODY TO PROTECT YOU BUT YOURSELF. SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOUSE WITH A GUN IN HAND: BE SURE TO LOCK THEM INTO A ROOM, FEED THEM BETTER THAN YOU EAT, MAKE SURE THEIR ROOM TEMPERATURE IS BETTER THAN HOW THE REST OF THE HOUSE IS, GIVE THEM ANY RELIGIOUS MATERIALS THEY WISH, GET THEM A COMFORTABLE BED, AN HOUR PER DAY EXERCISE, (MORE THAN MOST OF US HAVE TIME FOR), A TV, SOCIALIZATION TIME ETC.

PROMISE THEM THAT AS SOON AS A SHIP COMES BY THAT YOU CAN TRUST TO NOT RE-RELEASE HIM ONTO YOUR ISLAND, YOU WILL LET HIM GO.

OK, WRITE ME IN A FEW YEARS AND TELL ME HOW THAT GOES FOR YOU.

WHAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IS THAT THE MORE THE LEFT SCREAMS ABOUT GUANTANOMO, THE MORE LIKELY WE KILL SUSPECTS ON THE FIELD, AND THE MORE LIKELY WE EXTRADITE THEM TO COUNTRIES WHERE WE HAVE NO CONTROL OVER HOW THEY ARE TREATED. YOU HAVE TO REALIZE THAT IT IS THE JOB OF OUR PRESIDENT TO PROTECT US, ABOVE ALL ELSE, NOT PROTECT THE IMAGINED RIGHTS OF NON-CITIZENS. IN WW2, THE PRES GAVE ORDERS TO SHOOT ANYONE FOUND COMING ONTO OUR SHORES. GUESS WHAT? WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY WORRIES ABOUT INCARCERATION WITHOUT TRIAL.

YOU ARE A KIND PERSON, BUT NAIVE AND IGNORANT OF HISTORY, AND HAVING A HARD TIME UNDERSTANDING THE LINES WE HAVE TO DRAW.

I just realized the caps were still on. Ok, so you wouldn't waterboard to get info to save lives..what would you do as a coercive technique to encourage truth telling, given we don't have a drug yet that we can use and avoid all moral dilemmas? please tell me exactly your line that you think would work and be less "cruel"

OK, BACK TO YOU.













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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2008 at 12:39 am

Draw the exact line,

I don't feel like going through a bunch of caps.

But if someone's in custody and being interrogated, the rules of cruel and unusual punishment apply. The citizen/noncitizen divide is irrelevant--our laws apply to our agencies.

It's never been clear that physically coercive techniques yield good results. There are other methods--bribery, for example; good cop, bad cop. There are many effective psychological techniques.

Are you a psychologist? Do you have any sort of expertise in eliciting information from people? Don't assume expertise you don't have in this area.

People have talked for years in custody. Or as a defense lawyer of my acquaintance once said, "How do you get them to shut up?"

I'm neither particularly kind nor naive. I am a hardliner, however, on the rule of law. Among other things, I'd rather not give the go-ahead to have *our* people waterboarded. On what grounds, could we protest that sort of treatment of our own people?

It's simple really, a society is defined by how it treats the people it despises the most. Individual rights are meaningless without that. They become privileges and cease to be rights. Driving is a privilege. Due process is a right.

Take a look at just how much of the Bill of Rights is focused on the rights of those in the penal system. (As well as the rights in place so that we can overthrow a tyrannical government. The Founding Fathers were real rabble-rousers--radicals.)

It's not, by the way, a case of liberal v. conservative. Some pretty conservative courts have held up the rights of those at Guatanamo.

As for Bush--he's botched it over and over again. Not surprising, he has a remarkable record for screwing things up in both the private and public sectors. Again, not a conservative/liberal split--he's simply not good at what he does. The war in Iraq is a good example of that--create terrorists, overextend our resources while, meanwhile, failing in basic ways to develop the on-ground intelligence networks that would have unearthed Osama bin Laden.

You want good intelligence? Well, you could start by not having us hated and mistrusted in every country where we need local agents. We were pretty much blind in the Middle East and have been for some time. Which is part of the reason why the Bushies were led around so embarrassingly by the nose by Chalabi.

Among other things, Abu Graib and waterboarding are really bad P.R. Long-term loss in terms of intelligence for questionable short-term gain.

Your posts comes off as agitated--your fear (fears which have been well stoked by the current administration) muddles your thinking on this, I think. I've seen a lot of people since 9/11 buy into the endless rationalizations of the Bush administration and then slowly, one by one, kind of wake up. Not complete, of course, and a lot of people can't quite believe just how wrongly led we've been and are still trying to justify Bush's unethical actions.

I mean something like waterboarding has to work, right? Otherwise how do you justify it?

Fact is, since the operations have been extremely covert we've little reason to assume that it's a particularly effective technique or more effective than less morally questionable techniques.

My advice to you is to give up trying to defend Bush's actions. Go ahead and be as conservative as you want--but Bush will always let you down. You'll be a lot calmer when you don't have to defend that involves partially drowning people.



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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 15, 2008 at 9:29 am

OhlonePar,

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] However, you continue to say that waterboarding does not work ("Fact is, since the operations have been extremely covert we've little reason to assume that it's a particularly effective technique or more effective than less morally questionable techniques").

OP, the public information from the CIA, provided by an ex-CIA interrogator, John Kiriakou, is that waterboarding DOES work.

Web Link

"In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds.

"The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate," said Kiriakou in an interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News' "World News With Charles Gibson" and "Nightline."

"From that day on, he answered every question," Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

So, OP, keep up your anti-Bush patter, but please do not avoid reality on this question of the effectiveness of waterboarding. The evidence does NOT support your assertions.



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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Gary,

I'm a Bush hater because I recognize that the guy's incompetent? Nah--that's just a cop-out for you because it's a bitch to defend Bush's record. Takes even more denial than even you can manage on a daily basis.

Did you even read Hitchen's article? People talk under waterboarding, but the quality of the information is questionable--as Hitchens notes. Hitchens is like you, by the way, ex-leftie gone right--he's been a huge supporter of the war in Iraq. He makes the arguments on both sides.

And, again, the negatives (bad p.r., alienation of possible allies and native intelligence agents, increased likelihood of our own soldiers being tortured--and, oh yeah, it's just inhumane and degraded) outweigh the good--it's winning the battle to lose the war.

Are other methods more effective? Do you know? Of course not. (check up the Wikipedia article on it--did you know that "waterboarding" dates back to the Spanish Inquisition? It's historically been considered torture by the United States as well as international legal bodies. Back when we were kids this was known as "Chinese water torture". Waterboarding is a recent euphemism for an old bad habit.)

So what you have is some guy defending his involvment in torture by saying, "the guy talked". It says nothing about whether other techniques would have worked. And, frankly, we have only the word of interested parties that this worked just this way--there's a bias issue here. I could use the same reasoning to justify robbing a bank--hey, but I got the money.

Drowning witches got all sorts of people to confess to being witches. Do you think they really were?

Torture results in confessions, but they're unreliable--basically, a person will say what you want them to say. Doesn't have to be true.

We've managed a reasonable judicial system for a couple of hundred years without using torture to elicit confessions. Our failure to stop 9/11 had nothing to do with our not torturing people. It had a lot to do with not paying attention in some areas and not having good human intelligence operations in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan.




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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 15, 2008 at 1:31 pm

OhlonePar,

The CIA guy, John Kiriakou, said, in other interviews, that standard psychological methods did not work on this al qaeda operative. As soon as waterboarding was used, it was like "flipping a swith", and highly actionable intel was recovered from him, saving many innocent lives.

I can only conclude, based on your assertions, and as I have previously, that waterboarding is not torture, since it works. Just using your own logic, OP, (" Torture results in confessions, but they're unreliable"), waterboarding cannot be torture, since it provides reliable confessions.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Did you happen to listen to the KQED Forum interview, today, (by Michael Krasny) of Timothy J. Lynch? Lynch makes the case that any future presdient will need to follow Bush's lead, becasue Bush took the proper lead.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm

Gary,

And, again, the guy is trying to defend something of which he was part. He is not sn impartial commentator on the subject--he is trying to justify torture.

Waterboarding has been considered torture for more than a 100 years in this country. And, if you'll read the Hitchens' article, you'll notice that much of Khalid Mohammed's info. under waterboarding was not "reliable" according to sources within the CIA.

You should read the Hitchens' article before you make such basic errors.

Why should I care about what some talking head says on KQED?

Let's see--Bush--hugely expensive war in Iraq no end in sight. Al Qaeda still active and Bin Laden still at large after seven years. Afghanistan still extremely unstable, Iraq unstable, both Iran and Pakistan on the edge. North Korea still has nukes.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, no one even *knows* how extensive the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis. Record deficits, of course.

I'm not bringing up things where I disagreed with his policies--just noting how he bungled up major issues.

Doesn't require hating Bush to see that he bungled the job. I've never seen a president lose that much support. Seriously, I think he has narcissistic personality disorder. Goes with that inability of his to anticipate the reactions of others.

And now I'm on the wrong side of history, eh? So you have a crystal ball on top of everything? That's just desperate, dude.

I'm not a mirror version of you, Gary. I understand the pro-torture arguments (they're not new, after all), but I disagree with them. You, on the other hand, didn't even address my points--that torture is bad PR, endangers our own soldiers and makes it difficult to recruit the agents we need for effective human intelligence in the Middle East. Torture is both short-sighted and primitive, which is why we've not had to use it.

Nor did you address the fact that waterboarding is simply a new term for a form of torture first noted during the Spanish Inquisition. That historically and legally it has been considered torture. (In that sense, history is very much on my side--which is probably why you're not citing Wikipedia, but nebulous discussions on the radio and a torturer's attempt at self-justification.)

But this is pretty typical of you--you have your one idea and that's it. I'm sure you were the exact same way when you were on the left.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

OP, Nice arguments. However, I sense that only an experience like this
Web Link
would convince the hard-heads in this thread that they're defending torture.

If they still have doubts, I suggest putting each and every one of them (voluntarily) through the exercise in that video, and then put them on a lie detector and ask whether they think waterboarding is torture. Experience is worth a thousand words.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:44 am

Mike,

You're assuming that visceral knowledge will do it. Possibly, but Gary, for whatever reason, is very rigid.

I did a little Googling and Gary's cherry-picking was pretty blatant. I've seen this from him before--he'll cite a source without actually researching it.

The CIA guy, John Kiriakou, for example, has said he considers waterboarding "torture." Yep, the guy Gary's been quoting was the first CIA guy who actually named waterboarding for what it was.

So, I think it's time Gary admitted that we've been torturing suspects since he's been citing Kiriakou as his expert.

Now Gary's defense of using torture is that it worked in the case of "Zubaydah".

But, this, too, is less than clear-cut. Abu Zubaida talked, but the information he gave was of dubious use--old information and inaccurate information. That, too, was in the Washington Post.

What actually happened during Zubaida's waterboarding isn't exactly known as the records were destroyed and Kiriakou wasn't there.

Will Gary be able to admit that his sources don't actually support what he's claimed? I doubt it.

I think it would be a good start, though, if Gary did start admitting that he's a supporter of torture--the real deal. Kiriakou is no longer in the state of denial. Even Bush, yesterday, admitted that the country's not in good shape (though he did his usual blame somebody else.).

I pity Gary, actually--by the time you're justifying torture you've really lost any sort of moral compass.

Draw the Exact Line, if you're still reading this. This is what drawing a line looks line. Torture is wrong. This is what thinking torture is wrong looks like--I wouldn't inflict torture on my worst enemy. It's that wrong, it's that morally degrading.

I won't enable it. I won't rationalize it. I won't justify it.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2008 at 12:02 pm

OhlonePar,

You have, apparently, have not read much of whatI have said about waterboarding in the past. You might also have read the second post on this thread, which indicates that I read Hitchen's article.

The lefties, like yourself, insist that torture does not work. I have provided the best publicly avaialbe evidence that waterboarding works. Just using your own logic, OP, that would mean that waterboarding is not torture.

Now let's get real: Torture, of various types, DOES work! Waterboarding is a stressor technique that could be classified as torture by those who wish to do so (like Hitchens). I think it IS a realtively mild form of torture, one I would choose for myself, if I had to make a choice, compared to what I normally think of torture (flaying of fleash, burning of flesh, etc.). Waterboarding is a wakeup call to those hardened al qaeda thugs who will never be broken by psychological methods. In fact, those softer methods are only effective AFTER a single waterboarding.

The CIA has stated that it used waterboaring on three high value al qaeda targets. The ONLY publicly stated insider report we have is John Kiriakou. He calls it torture, and he says it works (and provides examples). You choose to give him credibility when he calls it torture, then you discredit him when he says it works. You then refer to the Wash Post, and annonymous sources, to claim that information gained was not really gained. Kiriakou used his name, and spoke publicly, and he was the real deal inside the CIA.

OP, you are someone who likes to do his reserach, especially, I notice, on school issues. However, you, somehow, refuse to look at contrary opinions in the national political perspective. For example, you dissed the idea of listening to Timothy J. Lynch, senior lecturer in U.S. foreign policy at the Institute for the Study of the Americas, School of Advanced Study at the University of London. You called him a "talking head". May I suggest that you reconsider? He is archived at:

Web Link (look for July 15, "After Bush".

It will probably not change your mind, but it would be good for you, becasue it might stretch it. You definitely need some stretching (but not on the rack!).


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:05 pm

"The lefties, like yourself, insist that torture does not work. I have provided the best publicly avaialbe evidence that waterboarding works. Just using your own logic, OP, that would mean that waterboarding is not torture."

The illogic in this statement is laughable, and shows a modus operandi of subject changing that is pretty high level, in spite of its duplicitousness.

Gary, one can't "control" for a definition of torture, because the boundary is subjective. That's OP's only error in an otherwise fine defense of human rights.

To your point, someone might resist waterboarding, and die. To push your logic to its end, you would claim that "torture didn't work". Crazy, isn't it? Literally, crazy. That's the mind of a torturer.

You think waterboarding is OK. That's fine; it also makes you no better than a terrorist.

Your defense of these activities equates you with terrorists; Americans who hold your beliefs are just as dangerous to our nation as the terrorists we're trying to defeat in other parts of the world. Thank goodness you're just another schlub on this board, where we can keep an eye on you.



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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Patriot,

I make my "torture does not work, thus waterboarding cannot be torture" argument, because you lefties just cannot stomach admitting that torture works. I am still waiting. Once you get aboard with reality, we could, possbily, have a rational discussion. For example, we could examine time-senstive intel.

In the meantime, I certainly hope that the CIA keeps waterboarding in its quivver...it is an important tool to save thousands, if not millions of innocent American lives.

Arguments to moral equivalence ("You think waterboarding is OK. That's fine; it also makes you no better than a terrorist.") are nonsense. Our government is probably the MOST moral major government on this earth. We use tough methods, selectively, to keep it that way. The EU, which crys foul, and denigrates the use of "torture" by the U.S., sat back and allowed the Yugoslvia conflict to be solved by the U.S., which is to say that the EU has NO moral stance that it is willing to back up. The EU needs to be ignored for many reasons, but this stance on torture is over the top...and should be shoved back in their face.

BTW, I am happy to see that you have recognized one of OP's logical inconsistencies ("the boundary is subjective"). You are, however slowly, starting to understand rational argument.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 4:52 pm

Except that "torture does not work, thus waterboarding cannot be torture" is a logical fallacy.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:10 pm

"Except that "torture does not work, thus waterboarding cannot be torture" is a logical fallacy."

Please explain, if you can, Peter. Waterboarding works.


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm

"Arguments to moral equivalence ("You think waterboarding is OK. That's fine; it also makes you no better than a terrorist.") are nonsense. Our government is probably the MOST moral major government on this earth."

So then, by logical extension and implication you claim that lynching is OK. Argue against that.

Gary, you're in so deep that to can't even see daylight. Your position is bankrupt. Start trolling on another thread.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

"So then, by logical extension and implication you claim that lynching is OK. Argue against that."

Last I heard, it is impossible to get a confession out of a dead person with a stretched neck. Much better to get a confession and some real good intel, using waterbording, for example, before hanging the bastard.

Get real, Patriot. Or at least grow some hair on your chest.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Patriot, Gary,

The definition of waterboarding as torture is not subjective. It's been defined as torture by both national and international courts as well as the U.N. Lengthy legal precedent has defined waterboarding as torture.

Gary, you may have read the Hitchens' article, but you didn't pay attention. You're making mistakes right and left on this one.

You haven't provided the best public evidence that torture works (though I'm glad to see you're finally admitting it's torture--your qualification that it's "mild" is just sort of sad. Godwin's law's a natural here.)

Kiriakou was not present at the waterboarding and he says the records of it were destroyed. So what we have here is hearsay about something that cannot be confirmed. Hardly a statistical analysis of the matter. (Those show, by the way, that other forms of interrogation are more effective--torture produces too high a rate of false positives.)

So, basically, you've got one guy's claim for something that can't be substantiated. That's your best evidence that torture works? Dude, it wouldn't even be admissable in a court of law--it's hearsay. Gossip, basically--blustering, rationalizing. Kiriakou is *not* a disinterested party--he has a vested interested in claiming waterboarding worked.

So, no, a talking head doesn't mean much here because it's an opinion, not evidence. You made a big claim--without anything solid to go on. What that tells me is that you don't know how to evaluate evidence. You lack skepticism.

Let me put it this way--I always doubted our causus belli for Iraq. Because I'm a liberal? No. Because the reasons kept shifting and nothing solid was established. Shifting stories are the sign of a lie. I wasn't surprised when no weapons of mass destruction were found.

As it happens (again this is in Hitchens), the description of Zubaida's waterboarding and its result differs. We have unreliable narrators, not hard evidence. If that's the "best" evidence you can supply then you don't have evidence.

Your last post reveals a certain goofball romanticism--you think real life is like some Western where the bad guys are punished and right guys are perfect. The kindest thing I can say about you is that you're naive.

Our government is the most moral major government there is, eh? Well, it's clear you don't the difference between moral and ethical here--governments can't really be moral, they can be ethical. An ethical government must, by definition, abide by a set code. In this case, our legal system, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights. Waterboarding and other forms of torture are violations of these well-established codes.

When our government violate our system of ethics as enshrined in the founding documents, it ceases to be ethical. Torture is a deep violation of our founding principles and the principles we have continued to hold true in the following centuries. Our government has violated its own well-established principles--there's no "most moral" left.

Again, you failed to address the points I made about torture--that other forms of interrogation are more effective, that it's bad PR and damages our ability to build better human intelligence in the Middle East. It also endangers our captive soldiers.

I think, also, now that you've admitted slowly drowning somebody is torture that it's time to start asking yourself why you're okay with that. When does it cease to be okay, Gary? Where are you drawing the line?

Do you even know? Or do you just buy into everything the Bush Administration tells you?

Is it okay to torture innocent people. Gary? Because we're looking at new info that indicates 55 percent of those at Abu Graib had nothing to do with terrorism and we know torturing took place there.

I don't think you know how to draw a line. I think if you're afraid enough that you'll okay anything (as long as you don't have to look and call it by its real name.). That's what Patriot's comment about your position being (morally) bankrupt meant. You don't know, I think, what it even means to take a stance where a principle applies when it's inconvenient.

That's not tough, that's not growing hair on your chest--that's the definition of weakness.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Gary, try this:

1. Torture does not work -- invalid statement; torture may produce valid results, most often it produces invalid or partially valid results
2. Waterboarding works -- invalid statement; waterboarding may produce valid results, most often it produces invalid or partially valid results.
3. "Waterboarding is not torture" not a valid conclusion because it is derived from two invalid statements.


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Peter, Good one. Gary is famous for attempting to prove negatives. Of course, that's possible, in a perverse sort of way, but in Gary's case, he's a little weak on induction. THis is common for true believers, or mindless followers of whatever "way" they think is correct.

Gary often exhibits a desperate desire to keep believing whatever he believes,
even if all the evidence is against it. It's like people who believe in flying saucers, even when they turn out to be kites at sunset, or meteors, etc. You can't prove a negative!

You can't prove that torture doesn't work! Meaning: your argument against torture is inductive, therefore not incontrovertible, and since Gary wants to believe in torture, he's going to dismiss the argument that torture doesn't work no matter how overwhelming the evidence against torture, and no matter how vanishingly small the chance that it will ever be a dependable source of information.

Gary simply dismisses inductive arguments about torture because they produce conclusions that are probable but not definite. That's why he's in deep doo-doo.

OP, What torture is, what *anything* is that is arguable, is subjective. You'll get arguments from many people about what torture is, not one of them provable in the absolute.

What we DO know, through induction, is that torture doesn't work. Gary would ask you to prove that the sun will come tomorrow, just to win an argument. His logic is flawed, and he's out of step with our Democratic values, as most Americans decry torture.

Darwin will take care of the Gary's of the world.



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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:27 pm

OhlonePar,

Before I get into a really serious point-by-point of evidence, I just want to make sure:

You are saying that waterboarding does NOT work, right? If so, on what basis do you make your opinion? I am not interested in hearsay evidence, just the direct, first person thing. Once I understand your source, I will get in your face. So far, you have provided no direct evidence.

I say waterboarding is effective in gaining intel, and you say it isn't. Prove your case. The CIA agrees with me, not you. After all, they signed off on it, at the highest levels, and Kiriakou confirms its effectiveness. You seem to like to quote journalists with agendas and annonymous sources.

If waterboarding IS effective (it is), then the ethical case for using it, selectively, is an easy case to make. Thus far, OP, you have not made your case.

I am waiting....


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 16, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Gary "I say waterboarding is effective in gaining intel, and you say it isn't. Prove your case"

OP, see what I mean? Gary will ask you to prove that the sun will rise tomorrow, because he so attached to his belief. Induction doesn't play a role in his world view. No matter what you say, Gary will keep asking you to "prove zero", ignoring inductive proof that torture is mostly not effective along the way.

OP, handle your time with care, and engage someone who won't go to literally illogical lengths to prove he's right.

Gary has been checkmated.


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Posted by wrong side
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2008 at 6:48 am

OP: You have avoided the most serious logical flaws in your arguments.

You think you have taken the high moral ground. I say not. You have taken an indefensible position based on loose definitions and no data to support your conclusions, and if we were to listen to "your side", "your side" would be responsible for yet more deaths of innocents, because you would prefer to argue against what works without coming up with a single stress technique you could "stomach" that would work as well.

You say "torture", I say "stress technique". The difference is, when I think of everything I would rather be subjected to in order to get me to "talk", this would be the thing, thanks.

Therefore, if I HAD to choose which method for one of our soldiers to have to go through by our enemies, (cracks me up that you really think that how we treat our prisoners has anything to do at all with how our people would be treated), then I would be extremely grateful if waterboarding were all I had to worry about happening to my loved ones.

I don't let others think for me, I don't care what the UN and ANY other country thinks of what we do or don't do. You are naive in thinking that these "international courts" et al care one whit about justice. Have you seen all those myriad court cases brought up against Russia, China, any of the countries in Africa, countries that attack Israel?

You are on the wrong side.

By the way, did you hate Clinton when he went in and stopped the genocide of the Muslims by the Serbs in the 90s? He killed not just a few people in bombing the country, but have you researched how many prisoners he handed over to the Muslims and what happened to them? Wasn't just waterboarding.



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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

OP, Patriot,

It is easy to prove, at least to my satisfaction, that waterboarding is ineffective: Have CIA interrogators who used it, or were among those who did, state that no useful information was gained from top al qaeda thugs it was used on.

Thus far, the evidence is just the opposite.

It is remarkable how you guys will stick to your beliefs, in the face of direct evidence to the contrary.


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Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2008 at 12:16 pm

Gary,

there you go again.


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Gary,

Read what I said. I was precise, you are not. I said other forms of interrogation and information gathering were more effective than torture, given the issue of false positives.

But, fact is, I pointed out why Kiriakou's claims wouldn't be considered "evidence"--biased witness, hearsay evidence, actual records destroyed.

But I actually welcome your squawking here. You've admitted that waterboarding is torture--that's a big step for you. Now, I'm going to acquaint you with a little historical info. I told you before that we've lots of historical information on torture. So, let's have a history lesson.

How bad is the issue of false positives and how effective is torture? Well, let's go ask Darius Rejali, professor of poli sci at Reed and author of two books on the subject. He's referring specifically to "clean" techniques such as waterboarding that don't leave marks:

"As a historian, I can tell you what the rate is when I look at other cases where armies very selectively tried to get suspects. And the best rate results that you can get when you use these techniques, at least as much as I've been able to find, is you pretty much have to first arrest minimally 8,000 to 20,000 suspects. You have to torture all of them. And out of that number, you're going to get twenty to seventy-eight innocents that you have to torture for every one bad guy you get. And that's a really bad rate."

I asked you about how you felt about torturing innocent people, Gary. You didn't answer. You, too, Wrong Side. How many innocent people are you willing to slowly drown?

Now, your big claim, Gary is that torture saves lives? Well, no one seems to have a number on that, but Rejali points out that torture and false positives helped start the war in Iraq.

"The other thing I just want to say on this point is this. We don't know how many lives torture has saved, but all of us know how many lives torture has taken, because we know that much of the information that started this war was gotten through coerced information, and we know that much of the war—the threat this war was prosecuted by was done through coerced information. It was the torture of [Ibn] al-Shaykh al-Libi who told us that it was Saddam Hussein who was training al-Qaeda in biological and chemical weapons, a claim that the Pentagon yesterday finally confirmed was utterly false. Well, that went into the President's speech in October 2002 and was part of the main justification that took us to war. Every American military death in this war, every civilian death, every limb and leg that was lost was a life that torture took."

Gary, gee, how do you feel about the little false positive issue now? I suspect you don't even appreciate the irony here. How could you? Read the paragraph a second time and think about it. Torture gave us a false positive that was used as a causus belli for the war in Iraq.

It ought to make you feel a little sick in the stomach--but you're not there yet.

I've mentioned that torture gets in the way of our building strong human intelligence in the Middle East. Rejali gives an example of how this works and doesn't work:

"{And when you torture, you not only just get bad intelligence, you undermine the willingness of loyal Muslims or people who like America to come forward and help us.

"My favorite example of this, just so you understand, July 21st, a bunch of guys got on buses in London with bombs, and they escaped. The British police got them all in ten days, and the break in the case came when the parents of Muktar Said Ibrahim, loyal British Muslims, turned in their son when they saw the security video. Would they have turned him if they knew their son was going to be tortured? The answer is: obviously not. Right? We know the kinds of things that work in policing. The FBI knows it. This is a standard practice. And the more we torture, the less it is that people will surrender to us. Getting into a terrorist organization is not unlike trying to get into the Mafia. You want people to walk in, turn sides on us, be our inside moles. That's the way it works."

You don't live in the real world, Gary. It's bad PR to be the bad guy. Torture makes us the bad guy. Your very rigid thinking makes it hard for you to see things from another point of view.

More on the false positive issue. Rejali points out that between 1500 and 1750, French prosecutors tortured 785 people--confession rate rates ranged from 3 percent in Paris to 14 percent (Toulouse). That's any sort of confession--true or false.

Both the Japanese and Nazis during WWII considered torture a poor way of gathering intelligence. Most of the info. gathered from the Nazis came from informants, public tips, interagency cooperation.

The other problem with False Positives, by the way, is that interrogation experts can't tell--their ability to detect false positives ranges from 40 to 60 percent--while chance is, of course, 50 percent.

The CIA is not a single entity. We know about the waterboarding because, in fact, not everyone in the CIA thought torture was a good idea. Like, duh. It's amazing what's getting leaked.

Wrong Side,

You don't know what you're talking about. It's really that simple. "Torture" is a legal term and it's been defined quite consistently. Waterboarding aka Chinese water torture has been repeatedly defined under both American and International courts as torture. You may not like it, but it is a well-established historical precedent. That you don't value the rule of law shows just how painfully sheltered you are. You have *no* idea what it really means to live without it.

Your comments are irrelevant--it's not a team sport it's not Clinton v. Bush. It's about the effectiveness and ethical correctness of torture. Or simply, two wrongs don't make a right. That rapes happen during war doesn't make it okay to torture people.

Actually, it's kind of funny to have you fuss about my "logic"--your comments are way out in left field as far as actual arguments go.

Patriot,

I've dealt with Gary before. It's why I bothered to look up Kiriakou. Gary grabs the one bit of data that confirms his belief system and discards the rest. Every now and then, I get tired of it and do a little pouncing and shredding.










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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 17, 2008 at 9:44 pm

OP,

You get more desperate by the moment!

I posited a simple question: Did waterboarding elicit valuable intel from the three top level al qaeda thugs it was applied to? You keep sliding and dancing the Texas two-step.

Your Reed College professor does NOT answer this question, and neither do you. You both seem to be talking about field interrogations by the military. I am talking about CIA interrogations, approved at the top, and performed by those guys who know how to do it (strssor techniques).

The evidence available, for all to see in the public realm, is that waterboarding worked, when applied to top al qaeda thugs. The evidence also shows that innocent lives were saved by doing so. In fact, waterboarding was used as a breaking technique, then the thugs were singing like canaries, at which point the softer psychological technques ("I am your friend") came into play.

OP, you completely fail to address the time issue. The CIA needeed information in near-real time...there was no time to waste. Al qaeda is not stupid, OP. The public evidence suggests, strongly, that the CIA got the intel they needed to stop future (near term) attacks.

You can cough and sputter and chant about ethics, but you are really immoral, becasue you condemn many innocent people to death, in order to feel good about your own selfish feelings.

The liberaton of Iraq, an extremely positive thing, and highly ethical and moral, was not based on waterboarding. It was based on removing Saddam, becasue he violated so many UN sanctions, and he was a hyper-aggressor in the region, and he had and used WMD, and he was regaining his power in the region (via corruption of officials, especially those in Europe and the UN)...and he was evil.

I am forced, through your obstreperousness, to return to my main question: Did waterboarding provide useful intel, when used against the three al qaeda thugs? You can run, OP, but you cannot hide (even behind a Reed College prof).


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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 12:29 am

Gary,

I'm not surprised that my information agitates you. Your grandstanding doesn't hide that.

Three al Qaeda thugs? Before we were talking about one. But your question cannot be answered as the records were destroyed. Here's another unanswerable question: has our policy on torture interfered with gathering good intelligence in the Middle East and Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Your grasping at straws--I've shown that there is substantial evidence that torture is a poor way to get accurate information. It's been poor during this war (it's unclear what useful and "real" information was obtained in the Al Qaeda cases.) We know some of it was downright bad.

The time argument is particularly pathetic (Hitchens points out one error with it)--in a time crunch you desperately trustworthy information. Again, it points to the need for good human intelligence. Torture is *not* a fast way to obtain accurate data--it's slow.

By the way, the leaders of several resistance groups did not crack under torture by the Nazis. The Nazis got information through paid informants and such. (And, of course, by the time someone's been arrested, a terrorist group can and will change its plans.)

It's pretty sad, really, how you avoid answering my questions, but grab for new ones and then fuss about how I haven't answered questions you never asked.

So Gary, how many innocent people are you willing to torture to get to that one guilty one? Is it okay as long as they're all adult men? How about if a child gets thrown in to the mix? Is it okay to torture an innocent 12-year-old? What if he knows where his possible terrorist dad is hanging out?

You know, you've lost this debate big time. It hasn't escaped my notice that you're resorting to goofy accusations and can't refute any of what I've said. I'm also aware that part of you knows it.

Torture is wrong, Gary. You degrade yourself by defending it. It's not necessary. I suggest you let it go and become a better and less fearful person instead of twisting yourself into these morally convuluted and false positions.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 6:50 am

"Let me make it very clear and to state so officially in front of this committee that waterboarding has been used on only three detainees. It was used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was used on Abu Zubaydah. And it was used on Nashiri.

The CIA has not used waterboarding for almost five years. We used it against these three high-value detainees because of the circumstances of the time. Very critical to those circumstances was the belief that additional catastrophic attacks against the homeland were imminent."

Waterboarding may be used in the future, too, if "an unlawful combatant is possessing information that would help us prevent catastrophic loss of life of Americans or their allies,"

(quote from Michael Hayden, Director CIA)

Now OP, why would the CIA director defend the use of waterboarding in cases of imminent attack, if he thought is was of no value in time sensitive situations?

To follow your line of reasoning, the CIA just likes to use ineffective means of interrogation. Hayden clearly does not agree with you.

To this point, we have only two public sources of information from the CIA: Hayden and Kiriakou, both of whom say that waterboarding is effective.

With respect to morality, it is in the eye of the beholder. I think it would be highly immoral to avoid the use of waterboarding, if the CIA felt is was necessary to save many innocent lives. You, clearly, feel that sacrficing those innocent lives is a price worth paying, because you oppose waterboarding.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:05 am

Gary,

Why would he defend it? Because it's illegal, Gary, and he needs some sort of defense. It's torture, Gary, and it's bad PR--the guy's job was on the line and Bush looks like crap. It's his job to put a pretty face on it so people as gullible as you will buy it.

The CIA also has to come up with some sort of excuse for its crummy human intelligence in the Middle East.

Wow--people rationalizing and justifying their actions--never seen that before.

Man, if I ever do something, I want you on my jury. You'd buy anything.

Since waterboarding has led demonstrably to false information used to start a war that's killed thousands of Iraqis and Americans, I'd say torture's in the net-loss-of-life category in a big way on this one--so there goes that rationalization of yours.

But again, how many innocent people are you willing to torture Gary?
You approve of torture and innocent people get tortured as Regali notes? So how many innocent people are you willing to torture for the possibility of one possitive. Is the 28:1 ratio okay with you?

You're trying to defend torturing on moral grounds--so have some guts here and deal with the reality.

Of course, if you do say it's okay to torture innocent people in order to get to the bad ones, you're making the same kind of rationalization as do terrorists--it's okay to kill and injure innocent people in the quest of a greater "good."

As for your flaccid morality in the "eye of the beholder" excuse--it's pretty funny to see a conservative fall so deeply down the well of ethical relativism. Your morality, such as it is, is pretty much us v. them. If we do it, it's right. If they do it, it's wrong.

So, again, Gary--how many innocent people are you willing to torture?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:14 am

Gary "With respect to morality, it is in the eye of the beholder."

Exactly, Saddam and other thugs maintain a different morality than we do.

If one is _positive_, with no possibility of error, that someone in custody who knew where a dirty bomb was going to explode and kill innocents, one would (as would most of us) place that person under extreme duress in an effort to save lives.

Gary refuses to deal with the inductive reality re: the valid evidence that torture does not work as general policy, instead siding with the Saddam's of the world.

There's a big difference between waterboarding one person who is _positively_ identified, with no possibility of error, as the one person who can _immediately_ save a life, and what has happened as a matter of policy in this war.

Gary is on the side of the torturer; he has become like his enemy, and slipped down a bit further than the rest of us into the great swamp moral relativity, where anything goes, as long as he's the one who isn't suffering.

Gary is SO busted and checkmated in this debate, it's almost torture to watch it. Poor thing.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:48 am

Patriot,

By the time we got to the point where we had the suspect with no possibility of no error, we'd have the kind of solid human intelligence that would make torture for information irrelevant. The Nazi/Axis Japanese history is informative. The Nazis did do great harm to the resistance networks, but not because people talked under torture (they didn't), but because people informed.

It's just a case of catching more flies with honey. In the case of 9/11 there was a lot of buzz and informants did clue us in (as well as our electronic surveillance.) We just didn't process it.

Of course, as I recall, part of the reason Saddam was such a bad guy was that he, uh, tortured people. I'm sure some of them were even guilty of wanting to overthrow his regime.

But, yeah, Gary's down the rabbit hole on all of this. I'm sort of mildly interested to see whether he's capable of any sort of acknowledgment on this. I doubt it--he wouldn't get into this sort of mess in the first place if he had that sort of awareness.

But, who knows? Maybe he'll be every so slightly less gullible the next time he's fed the party line.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 12:57 pm

"Since waterboarding has led demonstrably to false information used to start a war that's killed thousands of Iraqis"

OP. defend that statement, since you claim to be a man that looks at the evidence.

Note: This should be a good one!

Patriot,

"If one is _positive_, with no possibility of error, that someone in custody who knew where a dirty bomb was going to explode and kill innocents, one would (as would most of us) place that person under extreme duress in an effort to save lives."

If you leave your extreme qualifiers out of that statement, I bascially agree with, and have made that point all along. In all my arguments about waterboarding, I have said that it should be done, selectively, by CIA experts, on high value al qaeda thugs. There have been three thugs waterboarded, and it has produced good results...results that saved innocent lives.

I think I am, slowly, winning you over, Patriot. OP is still at an ealrier stage of conversion. I am patient.






 +   Like this comment
Posted by Civilized society
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2008 at 1:49 pm

"Get real, Patriot. Or at least grow some hair on your chest."
Gary - it's time for your wax job. Your neandrothal ways are showing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Civilized,

If I had intel that was valuable to the CIA, and they threatened me with a wax job, I would give it up! Real men would not allow a hairless chest! All kidding aside, I would know that the CIA could use waterboarding, and THAT would definetely get it out of me, just like it did on the al qaeda thugs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Civilized society
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:10 pm

It's your backside & knuckles I was referring to....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Civilized,

Oh, OK...they wouldn't get anything out of me with that threat. Thanks for the suggestion, though!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Gary,

Where did I claim to be a man who looks at the evidence?

I gave you a source for that comment. Specific info., specific tortured suspect, specific note as to when Bush used torture-obtained false info. to push for war on Iraq.

Your silence on everything else is noted as is your grasping at some sort of vindication from Patriot.

It's funny that you think in terms of "conversion". Telling. The ineffectiveness of torture as a means of obtaining information isn't a question of dogma, Gary.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:37 pm

"I gave you a source for that comment."

OP, please provide your source evidence that "waterboarding has led demonstrably to false information used to start a war that's killed thousands of Iraqis"

Then DEFEND your statement. Do you think I would ask this question if I had not, already, read your accusation, and source?

I am all ears, OP. Actually, I think you already know that you cannot support that statement, thus you are now trying to backtrack.

I AM trying to convert you to the truth, OP, and you are a fair, and talented, guy, once you get beyond your self-confirmed beliefs. My view is that you simply got in over your head on this issue. You are very good on the schools isues. However, I welcome you in the larger political and ideological context. Keep it coming!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm

"I gave you a source for that comment."

OP, please provide your source evidence that "waterboarding has led demonstrably to false information used to start a war that's killed thousands of Iraqis"

Then DEFEND your statement. Do you think I would ask this question if I had not, already, read your accusation, and source?

I am all ears, OP. Actually, I think you already know that you cannot support that statement, thus you are now trying to backtrack.

I AM trying to convert you to the truth, OP, and you are a fair, and talented, guy, once you get beyond your self-confirmed beliefs. My view is that you simply got in over your head on this issue. You are very good on the schools isues. However, I welcome you in the larger political and ideological context. Keep it coming!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Gary,

Read the previous posts. Pay attention this time instead of grandstanding.

By the way, Regali is an expert who's been consulted by both the military and the CIA. Thus, it's in military handbooks that torture is ineffective.

Not just a Reed professor, but one of the key experts on torture in the world.

He knows his stuff. And unlike Kiriakou and other members of the CIA, he wasn't trying to justify his illegal actions.

You, on the other hand, are prone to all sorts of curious assumptions.

The truth doesn't need converts, Gary. That would apply to matters of faith. You believe what you're told if it comes from sources you consider politically "right".

I don't work that way. To me, you seem gullible--you'll believe anything that fits your preconceived notions and deny anything that undermines them.

As for being over my head--no. The human failings at work here are all too clear to me. I know all too well to the extent people will justify and rationalize their own behavior. Unfortunately, I've met some real scum in my life. It's part of the reason I'm a hardliner on this--I'm all too aware of the slippery slope rationalizing that takes place: how the unthinkable becomes thinkable and then doable.

Remember, too, our human intelligence network in the Middle East and Pakistan and Afghanistan is so poor that we have little way of ascertaining whether someone's a terrorist. How tempting it must be under such circumstances to report an annoying neighbor or the guy who screwed you over on the sheep deal.

You're all show and no-go--you assume that somehow you're on the right side. But you lack the moral compass to know what that is. As I said, you seem to have some weird Romantic movie western view of things.

Again, Gary, how many innocent people will you torture--is that 28:1 ratio acceptable to you? Why? How about if it's one innocent person, but that person is your daughter?





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 5:42 pm

OP,

You gave me a source that claimed that someone who was NOT waterboarded WAS waterboarded.

OP, I am confident that you already knew this fact. Yet you went along with it. Then, like a good puppy dog, you agreed, along with your master, that the Iraq liberation was based on waterboarding.

Aboslutely absurd!

Ball in your court, OP.

" The truth doesn't need converts, Gary".

Indeed it does, OP! It has nothing to do with faith, just rationality. And determination. Ask T. Jefferson. Even J. Adams came around on this one!

I do happen to agree with you that our human intel in the Middle East was terrible, prior to 9-11. That is just one, of several, reasons to have waterboarded the blind sheikh, after the 1993 bombing of the WTC. Bill Clinton, like you, decided to take the legalistic approach, instead of the war apporach. We paid for that one, big time. You can tell your story to the families of the victims of 9-11, if you have the balls to do so.

Having used the waterboard, our current intel is vastly improved. Those al qaeda hard asses sang like canaries!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2008 at 6:51 pm

OP, Remember what I said about Gary being challenged when it comes to deductive inference. Why feed him?

I'm beginning to think you may be challenged about knowing when you've won a debate. You won, a LONG time ago. :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 18, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Patriot,

You don't need Googled definitions of logical arguments. You are fine on your own. Just use your own voice.

I hope you will.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Patriot,

Yes, I do tend to be tenacious, but Gary's going round in circles now, looking for something, anything, to grasp.

So I think we'll leave him to his swimming practice now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 18, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Flame war == more comments == more page hits == more ad impressions

The Weekly won!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 19, 2008 at 12:23 am

Hey, I love newspapers, I'm all for hits, though I gotta say the hits on this thread are nothing next to the endless MI debates. Now those really get the number counters going. (Hmmm, maybe that's why the eds don't edit me much these days--as long as I'm not comparing Camille Townsend to Marie Antoinette.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 19, 2008 at 1:15 pm

OP, Don't flatter yourself. The Weekly is challenged with staffing problems. :)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Admire Gary
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2008 at 6:44 am

Good job, Gary. As usual. Not trying to goad the rest, but your have again cornered the thread into facts and logic, and the rest fell out. Honestly, I really don't know how you have the patience to do it over and over again, though I know it is necessary to go into it every time the thread comes up. You will never know how many others you have converted.

To paraphrase, it is a waste to throw the pearls before the swine, but in this case the rest of the population can see the pearls.

By the way, I am wondering. The same ol' fools, Mike and Rachelle, Edith, Singh, and Uberoi keep getting letters to the PA Daily and Weekly published. Is it that they are the only ones writing, or are you sending in letters and not getting published? Seems I see one reasonable letter to every 5 in the Daily.

Just curious.

Thanks


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Admire,

Thanks, Mom! (Just kidding!).

I keep at it, because I enjoy keeping at it. In my leftist days, it was just expected, but these days are different for me. I do have to thank the lefties for their training, though!

No, I don't write letters to the editor. I prefer a blog, where feedback and interaction is much better. However, I do agree with you that the bias in the local papers is very liberal/socialist.

BTW, waterboarding works, and the CIA should continue to keep it in its arsenal of interrogation methods, although used selectively (which is what it has done). I agree with Dick Cheney that this is a "no brainer", and I agree with Alan Dershowitz that it will be done, in dire situations, no matter the government, so why not be up front about it?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 20, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Wow, Gary's got a sock puppet


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sock Puppet for OP
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 20, 2008 at 1:51 pm

OP, that is beneath you. Someone with whom you disagree having an admirer does not said admirer a sock puppet make.

You just replaced your brains with a template...unlike you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 20, 2008 at 2:33 pm

SP,

Nah, it's the timing, content and previous lack of existence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mimi
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Gary, where is your blog? I need a good laugh.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by To OP
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2008 at 7:36 am

OP, you have not been paying attention if you have not seen other admiring posts of both Gary and Walter on all the threads on which they post.

Usually when it is obvious that he has cornered the opposing point into incoherence. It is like watching some kind of sport. And, so far, he wins every time.

Whenever Gary or Walter post, I read. I used to read whatever you posted, too OP, but I am finding that you were solid only in the education threads, getting predictably template-y on state, national and international issues, so I am losing interest. I don't mean that as an insult, because of course the term "template-y" could apply also to Gary and Walter, but the difference is that YOUR template is everywhere, the Chron, the Merc,and all the initialed organizations like BBC, NBC, ABC, CNN, NYT, and all major papers and stations in Europe. So, it simply is boring and predictable to those of us who stay up with stuff.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Why Kevin, is that you?

It's simple, really. Sure, I've seen people admire Gary's posts. But he was badly cornered this time--he admitted he was a supporter of torture. He didn't recognize the name of one of the key experts on torture. He had no answers for most of what I said. He was grasping at straws.

Gary, however, needs to save face--goes with the rigidity. A sock puppet post gave him the space to have the last word (and save face) without actually having to deal with me and his inability to deal with actual debating points. Gary's "admirer" fed just the right lines for Gary to have his big sign off.

Like I said, it was obvious.

As for you, well, when I'm bored, I just skip the posts--but you lack this ability, I take it? That you can't tell the difference between different news organizations tells me that you're not actually up on much of anything.




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