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Eshoo introduces bill to ban waterboarding

Original post made on Feb 14, 2008

A bill that would ban waterboarding as an interrogation technique by agents of the U.S. government was introduced in Congress today by Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, February 14, 2008, 2:33 PM

Comments (101)

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Posted by GMC
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 14, 2008 at 3:14 pm

I think this bill (and the senate bill) is a mistake. I do not like the idea of the practice, however I think it needs to be available in the most extreme circumstances - like that of high value subjects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who might posess a great deal of life-saving information.
Either way - I bet the practice will continue behind closed doors in certain situations. Another thing that bothers me is the type of naive thinking it represents. There are people out there that I personally believe are deeply committed to doing us harm. They are smart, cunning and quite unlikely to answer questions without going that "Extra mile."
Again, I'm not saying that I'm jumping for joy when I hear about waterboarding taking place. I wish we didn't live in that world, but we do.


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

There's a very big problem with torture: it doesn't provide any reason for people to tell you the truth; what it does is provide them with an incentive to tell you what you want to hear.

If you're going to get useful information by torturing people, you need to torture lots of people, not just high-value subjects, keep them separated, and then compare the various lies that they've all told you to try and figure out which ones are true. This is slow, time-consuming, and expensive. If we want information, we're better off not torturing people at all, and learning what we can glean from those willing to cooperate.

Instead of being about information seeking, the purpose of torture is to create new terrorists so that Americans can be afraid and vote for Republicans.

I applaud Rep. Eshoo for seeking to ban the practice, but have serious doubts as to whether the Bush administration will care whether there is a law.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2008 at 4:02 pm

"There's a very big problem with torture: it doesn't provide any reason for people to tell you the truth"

Patriot, that is a tired old argument, and we, and others, have been through it before on this blog.

Clearly, waterboarding works. If torture, per se, does not work, then waterboarding cannot be torture, by definition. Actually, the truth is that torture DOES work, and waterboarding is a mild form of it.

If waterboarding is outlawed, it will only be a matter of time before there is another outrage, like 9-11, and the masses will be demanding to know why the then president did not allow waterboarding to prevent it.

It really is not a complicated issue.


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Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Waterboarding works all right -- it gets people to talk, and convinces their friends and relatives that Americans are such monsters that it is worth dieing in order to kill us. It cannot and does not provide any reason to believe what the victim says, let alone prevent a 9/11 style attack.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 14, 2008 at 4:50 pm

"Waterboarding works all right -- it gets people to talk, and convinces their friends and relatives that Americans are such monsters that it is worth dieing in order to kill us"

Now that is an interesting theory, Patriot. Ya suppose that is what drove them to attack us on 9-11? May I suggest an alternative theory? I would bet my life that they attack, becasue they want to spread Islam throughout the world, with the sword. So many people have suffered, in the past millenium from this crazy stuff. This current jihad is just the most recent iteration.

Although I am not a Christian, I can well understand that the Crusades were a DEFENSIVE counterattack against these crazies. The West's battle, today, is indeed a crusade against this age-old enemy.

Islam needs to go through a reformation, similar to the Christian version. The fight in Iraq has the potential to bring this on. Of course, if we cut and run, it will all be for naught...even worse. This is why Obama or Clinton will stay the course.


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Posted by Anna-Is-Only-Steps-Away-From-Becoming-Tokyo-Rose
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 6:00 pm

> It cannot and does not provide any reason to believe what
> the victim says, let alone prevent a 9/11 style attack.

Web Link

How the CIA Broke the 9/11 Attacks Mastermind

September 13, 2007 4:09 PM

Richard Esposito Reports:

Howtheciabro_mn When Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was strapped down to the water-board, he felt humiliated -- not by the treatment but by the fact that a woman, a red-headed CIA supervisor, was allowed to witness the spectacle, a former intelligence officer told ABC News.

The al Qaeda mastermind, known as KSM, stubbornly held out for about two minutes -- far longer than any of the other "high-value" terror targets who were subjected to the technique, the harshest from a list of six techniques approved for use by the CIA and Bush administration lawyers, sources said.

Then KSM started talking, in idiomatic English he learned as a high school foreign exchange student and polished at a North Carolina college in the 1980s, sources said.

"It was an extraordinary amount of time for him to hold out," one former CIA officer told ABCNews.com. "A red-headed female supervisor was in the room when he was being water-boarded. It was humiliating to him. So he held out."

"Then he started talking, and he never stopped," this former officer said. KSM was never water-boarded again, and in hours and hours of conversation with his interrogators, often over a cup of tea, he poured out his soul and the murderous deeds he committed.
----

It is difficult to understand how anyone who has most likely never been in the military, been in combat, or involved in any intelligence gathering activities could make a statement as above. Simply incredible!

The article (found on the linked-to ABC web site) was posted in the mid-2007. This article provided the world details of how "waterboarding" was used to "break" a man who turned out to be the "mastermind" of the 9/11 attack on the US.

From the article:
---
"If one water-board session got him to talk, you could have gotten him to talk (without it), given time and patience," said Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant and former FBI agent. Garrett has 30 years of experience interrogating terrorists such as Yousef, the Pakistani man who killed two CIA employees at the gates to the agency's Langley, Va. headquarters in 1994 and hundreds of violent criminals.
---

> why would you believe anything that people tell you when
> waterboarded?

One verifies the answers. Of course, intelligence is time-sensitive, so the longer one waits the less valuable the information obtained might be--even if true.

"Time and patience" is expensive, and can cost lives of Americans. One can only wonder why people opposed to "waterboard" don't seem to understand, or dismiss the value of lost American lives and money.

> prevent a 9/11 attack

If a member of a terrorist cell were being interrogated (perhaps by waterboarding) at/about the same time that some sort of "action" was about to be put into execution, and the person revealed the names and nature of the "action"--then most certainly the event could be thwarted.


Anna Eschoo is barely a high school graduate. She does not have a Baccalaureate degree, has never served in the military, held a real job, or owned/run a business. She has been nothing but a hack democratic politician from San Mateo County. She has never demonstrated any evidence of understanding how the world works. When 9/11 occurred, she had a small notice of it on her web site--but she showed no open outrage.

Anna Eschoo has sent a strong message to our Military that their lives are of little value to her, and an even stronger message to America's enemies that she more concerned for their welfare than the lives of Americans.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by ,,
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm

seemslike all this police torturing s only causing ''students'' and others to shoot first...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ten18
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Eshoo and Thompson - just a couple of naive know-nothing mush-heads, obviously too squeamish to be making decisions about interrogation procedures. They're working so hard to handcuff our military and intelligence services, while the rest of Congress spends their time listening to that idiot Roger Clemens and his dope pusher lie about each other - it's a wonder most Americans can sleep at night with these nitwits at the levers of power.

And it's only going to get worse.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 8:54 am

The penultimate torture of any one is derevation of freedom. Only by coercion can someone be induced to accept confinement and obey rules.
Give Esoo a day in the jug and she will want to ban coercive incarceration. This is what happens when you let a child drive.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2008 at 12:51 pm

More than 6 years of waterboarding and we still ain't got Bin Laden.

Really works, don't it.



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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 1:20 pm

So, Paul, had we just captured bin Laden the sun would shine and Dorothy would go home to Kansas [although why someone would want to leave Oz to go back to the Dust Bowl is beyond me]. Folks like you have me living in fear that a lawyer representing the two prisoners I captured in November of 1950 will sue me for violating their civil rights. For some reason I did not know the Chinese Miranda.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by GET REAL
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 15, 2008 at 2:18 pm

The lives saved by using waterboarding are priceless. I don't give a rat's XYZ if a terrorist is humiliated when he spills his guts out of fear from waterboarding.
True torture is the kind of treatment the terrorists dish out to others, - even their own people if they violate their opressive religious laws. For example: cutting off hands or feet, cutting out tongues, gouging out eyes, mutilating women's genitals, whipping rape victims, killing gays (just for being gay), cutting off noses (for not wearing a proper beard), butchering/ blowing up innocent men, women and children (to force them into submission) and sawing off the heads of their captives - just to name a few.
We need to be able to get information quickly in order to stop terrorists from carrying out bombings, kidnappings, etc. Waterboarding is effective and safe. It is ridiculous to call it real torture. Protecting the lives of the innocent MUST be the top priority here, not worrying about some terrorist's "feelings" of shame.


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

"More than 6 years of waterboarding and we still ain't got Bin Laden."

If we had used waterboarding considerably more than three times in those six years, he might be in Guantanamo now. It is a very useful interogation method for high value jihadists...why not?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr. BBQ
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 15, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Mr. BBQ is a registered user.

The bottom line is I am afraid our President might misuse his power if we legalized water boarding. That is not to say he won't authorize it any way. This guy thinks he is above the law and he abuses his powers on a second by second basis. Where is our Country headed? I thought Nixon was bad, nothing compared to Bush; and people support him! I will never understand, how blind people are...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jesse
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 15, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Hey, people, you want Hillary waterboarding? I think we better stop it now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Gary

As you say: "If we had used waterboarding considerably more than three times in those six years, he [Bin Laden] might be in Guantanamo now."

So they don't seem very diligent about capturing Bin Laden, do they? Why do you suppose they don't really want to get Bin Laden?


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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Paul,

Are you serious? Waterboarding has become code for evil-doings on the part of the administration, by those who do not think the jihadists are a serious threat. It is not, of course, but the CIA needs to be mindful of possible criminal prosecutions of its own interrogators, brought on by those, like yourself, who have quavering voices in the fight against the jihadists.

Waterboarding has been underutilized, due to fears of criminal prosecutions. It needs to be fully legalized, although perhaps with a buyoff of top Congressional leaders, or a FISA court. We are in a fight for our civilization, and waterboarding is very mild, yet effective, stuff. We need it, and we need to use it more frequently.

More generally, waterboarding has become a tool of the hatriots to just attack Bush, because he is your hated nemesis. The hatriots could care less about the United States success in the war against the jihadists...they just want to defeat Bush. That is why they are called hatriots.

I wonder what the hatriots will say, when (potentially), Presdient Obama says that we need to stay the course, AND that we need to reinstitute the military draft? What would you say, Paul?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bin Laden Prediction
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 15, 2008 at 4:57 pm

"More than 6 years of waterboarding and we still ain't got Bin Laden."
Don't worry. We'll catch him sometime after the party conventions and before the November election. It'll be at a time that is most opportune for Pres. Bush and the Republicans. Bush will gloat. The Republicans will gloat. And pro-war Mr. McCain will pick up extra votes.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good For A Laugh !
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Didn't you conspiracy nut jobs say the same thing the last time we had an election? This is the kind of mind that votes for democrats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Good For A Laugh !
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Didn't you conspiracy nut jobs say the same thing the last time we had an election? This is the kind of mind that votes for democrats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bin Laden Prediction
a resident of Southgate
on Feb 15, 2008 at 5:11 pm

So what you're saying is that Bush really IS as inept as he appears? Yup, you are Good For A Laugh!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ben
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Bush has guys like you, BLP, all tied up in knots.
Eshoo is dead wrong on this one. We need tools like waterboarding to save lives. Those who oppose waterboarding like to pretend that they are better people and more humane than others. But in reality it is just another excuse for them to spew their hatred for Bush.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2008 at 6:37 pm

One wonders how Eshoo would look in a Burkah.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 16, 2008 at 12:08 am

Speaking of burkahs, check out this really neat innovation, that manages to maneuver around Islamic law

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:53 am

Ok, last time I posted a link to you-tube, my post was deleted.

But, folks are videotaping themselves being waterboarded...and putting it on the You-Tube. Go do a search.

AND..Military folks are waterboarded routinely so they can learn to withstand it ( and other forms of real, much worse torture that jihadists like to give out).

AND..tell me, given a choice between a high suspect person being waterboarded, and saving the lives of all of us in Palo Alto, and the suspect knowing absolutely nothing is going to be done to him, and all of us dying...all you water boarding objectors would choose.......?

Thank you Anna Eshoo for helping to keep us all here, in Palo Alto, so much safer by providing a safe haven to terrorists.


By the way, whoever said "if we make it legal"...it already IS legal under extremely limited circumstances ( too limited, in my opinion)..the battle is whether or not to make it completely illegal.

Like McCain said to Der Speigel, when HE is president, HE will make it clear that America will no longer torture! ( God help us all, he is the least destructive of our 3 Presidential choices)


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Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 7:54 am

Mike, gosh, now that we can maneuver around Islamic law, I have no fears of living under Sharia


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pimp-my-Government
a resident of University South
on Feb 16, 2008 at 9:36 am

Anna Eshoo = foolish.

Poor undereducated woman - a tip for you go study history, please.

You will then understand why your actions in this matter are so foolish.






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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 10:14 am

I liken the attitudes of Eshoo and other critics of war making to those who criticize the fire fighters who save their home for the water damage. They are ignorant and ungrateful, and very fortunate that society protects them against peril in spite of their ignorance.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Elina
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 16, 2008 at 4:35 pm

So Anna Eshoo couldn't find a more important matter to push in Congress? What a waste!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by simple really
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Torturers are sadistic monsters, whether they wear turbans or U.S. military uniforms.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 16, 2008 at 11:23 pm

it's amazing how all these guys like gary and w-e-w trust government so much. what's to keep the government from torturing americans? once you open the door, anyone is free to walk right through.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 6:20 am

Hey, wow, if you read from my letter an uncritical acceptance of government power you need remedial. "The penultimate torture of any one is dep[r]evation of freedom. Only by coercion can someone be induced to accept confinement and obey rules." How do you detain people without coercion? Are you ready to concede coercion in the world to the freelance mobster and deny to government the ability to respond adequately? Would you limit the sentries who stand between you and the knacker to shouting "Halt or I will shout halt again"? I suspect you would want a government blind and bound, except when they are auditing a Leona Helmsley.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:55 am

this isn't about one comment (and certainly not about that comment). you've defended torture and torturers under government auspices.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:33 am

Sorry you still didn't get my point, wow. You expand the definition of torture, whereas I would not so define it as to make any assertion of government authority impossible. A judge, however wise, has no authority beyond the bailif who drags the miscreant before him, even if the miscreant does not want to be there.
Redefining a word seems to be the rage nowaday, but I don't buy it. A government by definition is coersive, since we need no authority to make us do what we want to do anyway.
I tire, sometimes, of those who have never forgiven their parents the trauma of toilet training.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by just seeking info
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2008 at 10:53 am

waterboarding has been underutilized?
How do we know how much it has been done?
Does anyone really know where and when and how much worldwide this practice is done?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

How often has, in your name, a compliance hold been used today? How many people have had their freedom of movement restrained? How many have been shot dead? And you worry about a little water boarding? God protect us from the True Believers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm

w-e-w, looks like you're the one expanding the definition of torture to include detention and imprisonment.
torture is torture. it's inhuman and degrading to the victims, the perpetrators, and those in whose name it is done.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Wow, wow, I hope your residence in professorville does not mean you are teaching innocent children your recursive logic. You and Eshoo vastly exagerate the harm of waterboarding.Try a little test. Would you rather have you arm broken or serve a year in jail? I would take the break in a New York minute. Would I prefer waterboarding to an audit? Again, no question. Much ado about nothing but the desire to punish this country for having rejected progressive leadership. Just one thing I differ on. I would try anyone captured making war on us who was not in uniform before a drumhead court and execute him.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Waterboring
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Other than the theoretical ticking time bomb scenario, I haven't seen a valid reason for the US to use torture. Of course, the ticking time bomb scenario presupposes knowledge of the time bomb in order to justify torture. For intelligence purposes, torture produces such a hodgepodge of false and accurate information that its utility is questionable. The utility is even more questionable given the moral repugnance or torture, the damage it causes to the ability of the US to cooperate with other countries, and the recruiting tools it provides to terrorists.

By the way, how much compensation would you seek for me to waterboard you for 15 minutes?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 1:36 am

So, waterboring, it is all in the definition for you, too? Trying to follow some of the illogic is torture. But given the choice, swifty, I would still chose survivable waterboarding to a year in prison. You folks have argued yourselves into an indefensable corner, typical of those whose own lives have been remarkably protected.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:05 am

a yes-or-no question, w-e-w:
have you tortured prisoners of war? your statements at least suggest that you've violated the geneva convention.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 7:25 am

Have I tortured POWs? No, but I did not feed them, because I had no rations, and I did not move them from danger because their buddies stood between us and safety [See The River and the Gauntlet, SLA Marshal] but I was ready to kill them either to prevent their escape or, in the event we were overrun, to keep them from telling anything they might have observed about our weaknesses. I did what I could within the bounds of our situation to grant them the respect due an enemy soldier.
I never fail to be amazed at the understanding of war demonstrated by Feather Merchants. Some of you come perilously close to ingratitude.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 8:47 am

There was a column in the paper a few days ago from a Navy pilot who experienced "waterboarding" as part of his POW training. He said back then they called it "water torture". If we used that original name, the debate about whether it is torture would be moot!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

The Washington politicians should get involved in the overall strategic behavior of our military such as the general treatment of POWs. If the POWs are no threat we should treat them well since killing or torturing them is sadistic and self-destructive and would not encourage the enemy to surrender.
When it comes to tactical decisions, however, this is a specialized military question. In war, to not do whatever is necessary to extract information from POWs would be a violation of the moral purpose of government, which is to protect the lives of its citizens.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 11:27 am

And I call incarceration torture, and most in the military refer to basic as torture. Your arguments are torturous. - argue against that, bucky.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 18, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Just for the curious, there is torture in the classic sense - inflicting significant pain or grievous or permanent bodily injury as punishment or because of the desire to cause the victim to suffer.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:34 pm

Amplifying on what I said before, six years of call it what you want -- waterboarding, torture, extraordinary rendition, information facilitation -- Bin Laden remains at large. Either these techniques don't work, or the Bush administration does not want to capture Bin Laden. I think it's both.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 18, 2008 at 9:51 pm

"Paul ... waterboarding has become a tool of the hatriots to just attack Bush, because he is your hated nemesis."

For the record, Bush is NOT my "hated nemesis." I do not hate him. I pity him as the swaggering incompetent he is.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2008 at 5:23 am

Sorry, Paul, but your insistence that the capture of bin Laden was the only legitimate goal of the war on terror is a pathetic example of your Bushate blindness.


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Posted by MakesSense
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:16 am

I heard David Shields give the following assessment: in the heat of the moment after 9/11 Darth Cheney pushed for the use of waterboarding. Later, cooler heads prevailed and realized that it is and was wrong. Administration officials are not allowed to admit that a mistake was made while at the same time trying to prevent it from happening again. That leads to some rather "tortured" logic.


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Posted by Good For A Laugh !
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2008 at 9:31 am

To understand why the hateful left thinks that something as benign as waterboarding is torture, just remember that most of them consider being told NO a form of torture.
They hated their parents for setting any rules or boundaries on their self indulgent behaviors or for properly punishing them when they broke those rules.
All this they project onto representations of authority today - like Bush, Cheney or the military.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Gee, Walter, I think capturing the leader of the world's most notorious terror group ought to be a significant goal of the war on terror if we're serious about waging a war on terror. Even our president G. W. Bush is on record wanting him "dead or alive." Why do you dissent?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Paul, aren't you being a tad impatient? It took 19 years to capture Carlos. OBL has been forced to hide inside his own onion. As the layers are peeled away, he will get his...

Why so little faith, Paul?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2008 at 5:04 pm

OK, I get it. Patience is the new order of the day.

First we sent the US Army, Marines, and Air Force to bring Bin Laden back dead or alive, now (flip-flop) we just have faith that he'll saunter into an FBI office and give himself up when he gets around to it.

No waterboarding necessary, Eshoo wins by default.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Oh Paul, you need to dig a little deeper.

Carlos was on the run for all those years, then the U.S. and the French cut a deal with the Sudanese to render him. The official story is that his body gurads turned on him...read between the lines, Paul.

Waterboarding is kindegarten, compared to what he and his faced.

The good news is that he is now in a French jail.
The bad news is that the French refuse to put him to guillotine.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 19, 2008 at 7:08 pm

The fact that Osama has not been caught is not proof of anything, certainly not that waterboarding is not ever effective.

Some folks are sought after extensively but somehow manage to elude being found. D.B. Cooper and Amelia Earhart are two examples. Some of the fugatives from 70s radical US terriorist groups have been the same, with two of them coming to the surface recently after 30 years, much longer than Osama so far.

Ruling out the use of waterboarding even for situations where extreme loss of life is at stake belongs in the same rulebook as Stimmon's quote:"Gentlemen Do Not Read Other Gentleman's Mail"


By Mike Haran
Sept. 12, 2007

The above is attributed to Harry Stimpson when he took over the US State Departments information section during the pre war period. Shortly after wards Japan launched its attack on Pearl Harbor completely surprising most of the US government, the few exceptions helpless to do any thing about it.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 19, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Let's see... Gary said: "If we had used waterboarding considerably more than three times in those six years, he [Bin Laden] might be in Guantanamo now."

And Paul said: "... six years of call it what you want -- waterboarding, torture, extraordinary rendition, information facilitation -- Bin Laden remains at large."

And then Gary said: "Paul, aren't you being a tad impatient? It took 19 years to capture Carlos."

First waterboarding could work in just six years, then it might take nineteen years, likely more. This flipflopping makes me dizzy.

Waterboarding plainly hasn't worked and, as Gary has noted, it might not work for a long time or at all. So don't do it. It's bad enough for the United States to disgrace itself in front of the world, but it's criminally stupid to embarrass America in a futile pursuit.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 20, 2008 at 10:04 am

Perhaps just a simple policy of 'don't ask, don't tell' regarding waterboarding is really what we need here.

The benefits:
The squeemish who think that no amount of lives lost are worth putting anyone through simulated drowning will not be confronted with things they don't like to think about. And the people who have the very difficult work of preventing great loss of life from terrorism can choose which tactics they need to save innocent lives.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by J. Stalin
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2008 at 10:07 am

I agree.


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Posted by How Silly
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2008 at 10:40 am

Really now , Stalin would never have bothered using anything as humane as waterboarding. He didn't even need to interrogate anyone. He SIMPLY KILLED anyone who got in his way or whom he mistrusted. It didn't matter to him if they were guilty of anything or not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Paul...really!

If waterboarding was to be more liberally used, for instance on a captured tribal chief in the mountians of Afghanistan or Pakistan, then OBL might be dead by now. Unfortunately, the CIA is gunshy about using waterboarding, becasue they fear the repercussions of the politicians in DC. Our politicians should be protecting us, not harming us. This, afterall, is a war against the jihadists.

Or perhaps you don't think we are at war the jihadists, Paul?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Excuses, excuses, always excuses. We're supposedly at war, and all we get is dumb excuses about why we don't fight it. Why do you think liberals are so fearsome that they leave our brave "bring 'em on" president totally paralyzed with fear?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Paul,...no, not the president, the CIA...Church Committee ring a bell?

BTW, Paul, what are you going to say when Obama flips and says, " We just gotta have hope, and change, but we must back it up with determination and force"?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Yeah, yeah, yeah. More excuses when we need action.

If this war is real, then somebody needs to get real about it and quit this footsying around. No wonder Afghanistan is the number one opium producer under Bush & Co. Total incompetence everywhere.

I do not answer hypothetical questions. You might as well have asked, 8 years ago, what are you going to say when Bush flips and decides to go nation building?

But, at least you are being realistic about who the next president will be. Good work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 4:07 pm

Paul,

You have your points, and you are starting to sound a littly bully. Good for you.

BTW, however, the Taliban and al qaeda got punked and so did Saddam. Question is, can Obama keep up the good work?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm

Somebody needs to go tell the Taliban and al Quida they been punked; they don't seem to have gotten the message. Total incompetence in Washington again.

Saddam's gone, but so what? They way things are going with the re-Baathification over there another Saddam will soon replace him to end the Bush-brought chaos. Even Bush finally admitted Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 or any attack on us. And if the fantasy was to rid the world of nasty dictators, well Castro and Kim Jung Il and so on down the list are still on the job and repressing their people.

So back to waterboarding. It's torture, it's a disgrace for the US, and it very evidently don't work. Eshoo has the right-on right idea. Sometimes we need a woman to do a man's work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Donald
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2008 at 7:18 am

The debate over waterboarding comes down to an ancient philosophical divide that won't be settled here: whether the ends justify the means. Bush has repeatedly asserted in various contexts that anything is allowable as long as it accomplishes what he says we need. There is no question that waterboarding has given us useful results, but is that the only consideration? Look at where this argument leads and you can see how dangerous it is. Waterboarding was invented by the Spanish Inquisition, whose terrible deeds were justified in the name of the church. Many acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide have been justified (to the perpetrators) by the need to accomplish some lofty goal. Hitler felt he was improving the human race by murdering millions of people. If you firmly believe that the end justifies the means, there is no moral line that will ever stop you. It is an argument with terrible consequences, and should be resisted vigorously by anyone with a conscience. The good results of past torture are not justification for its use, and restricting it to allegedly "really bad people" is a frighteningly weak assurance, since these people have not been tried or convicted of anything. A few bureaucratic errors or slip-ups could put any one of us in their place. I am with John McCain on this one.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2008 at 9:18 am

Donald, thank you for your voice of sanity.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 10:55 am

Hear, hear.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Clinton-Is-A-Bum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

> No wonder Afghanistan is the number one opium producer
> under Bush & Co. Total incompetence everywhere.

Web Link

In 2000, Afghanistan's opium production still accounted for 75% of the world's supply.

Clinton was in office in 2000. Why should Bush be held accountable for what Clinton clearly did nothing to stop?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2008 at 11:54 am

"Whether the ends justify the means" serves as no guide; it has no content. It depends entirely on what the ends and the means are.
It is not a legitimate argument to claim that our military, while trying to save innocent American lives by preventing terrorists bombings, have the same moral status as the Inquisition and Hitler. And it's a very stretched argument to place peaceful Palo Alto citizens in the same category as enemies captured under terrorist circumstances.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 21, 2008 at 11:55 am

bush should be held accountable because bush has been president for seven years.
duh.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 21, 2008 at 12:01 pm

wray,
pinochet, the inquisition, joseph mccarthy, stalin, and hitler all claimed that they were "protecting the fill-in-the-blank people and way of life" from "terrorists/subversives/communists/capitalists/the enemy du jour"
there were people who believed them, supported them, and were complicit with them. it would be a shame to add america to that list.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

Putting Joseph McCarthy in the same list with dictators, who physically tortured, dismembered and otherwise killed people, is telling about how you ( and all far lefters) think.

Did you write that wonderful article in Reuters which praised how great Cuba is and how wonderful an icon Castro is the other day?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 12:52 pm

"whether the ends justify the means"

Donald, we dropped bombs all over Germany in WWII, and Germany did not attack us first. If you recall, Japan won that prize. However, let me just extend your argument. Why fight at all? Couldn't we just all agree to let aggressors kill us? Ghandi thought so. That way, we would be pure of soul.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 12:56 pm

McCarthy failed to become a dictator only because the American democratic system thwarted him. Many Americans would have welcomed a McCarthy regime, as many Russians yearn for the golden days of Stalin. Many still revere him.

If, as they instructed me in Catholic school, the intent makes the sin, then McCarthy certainly belongs on the list.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Gary forgets that Germany first declared war on the US. The US might have ignored it, but decided to return the favor.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:38 pm

Waterboarding cannot reasonably be called torture. It is only a momentarily frightening, but safe interrogation technique. There is no physical damage done and no prolonged deprivation involved - as with true torture. Those who have made an issue of waterboarding are just pushing their political agendas or are the dupes of those agendas.
It is irresposible to gut this country's ability to protect and defend its citizens or other innocent civilians. We are facing terrorists who abide by NO rules of civilized warfare. They purposely target women and children, and employ true methods of torture.
The U.S. is one of the most humane nations on this earth. But a line must be drawn in terms of how much advantage we give to terrorists (who will eagerly exploit that advantage).
It is a false humanitarianism that labels waterboarding as torture at the expense of protecting the lives of the innocent.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Clinton-Is-A-Bum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:41 pm

> duh.

The height of intellectual achievement of the Left.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tools-To-Keep-A-Free-People-Free
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:44 pm

There is an interesting overview of Water Boarding in Wikipedia:

Web Link

Note--the technique was not invented by the Bush Administration. Will Eschoo's Bill make note of that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 1:46 pm

"Gary forgets that Germany first declared war on the US. The US might have ignored it, but decided to return the favor."

No, I do not forget. However, Hitler was quite willing to use diplomatic means to allow America to remain neutral. FDR, having pushed for war, while denying that he was, was not about to let Hitler off the hook. I think FDR figured that the ends do justify the means, including massive civilian caualties in the firebombings of German and Japanese cities. I remember seeing a photograph, perhaps in Life magazine, showing 5-6 sleeping German infants...except that they were asleep for good due to the shock wave of an American bombing raid.

I respect FDR, becasue he saw the big picture. He would have scoffed at current criticisms of his guys to get the job done. He wouldn't have even flicked the ash off his cigarette about waterboarding. His goal was to defeat evil. He looked into his nightly martini, and was satisfied that he was doing just that.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Water is Just Hydrogren and Oxygen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2008 at 2:02 pm

> "Gary forgets that Germany first declared war on the US.

In the fall of 1941 Roosevelt had instructed the Navy operating in the North Atlantic to fire on German Naval Assets--which they frequently did. The Germans did not fire back--fleeing rather than getting suckered by Roosevelt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 21, 2008 at 2:37 pm

wow, What difference does it make what they claimed or believed?
Just look at the facts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2008 at 4:50 pm

Common Sense said "It is a false humanitarianism that labels waterboarding as torture at the expense of protecting the lives of the innocent."

Great line..can I use it?





 +   Like this comment
Posted by True Catholic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Paul, no ..Catholics do not now nor ever believed that intent makes the sin any more than Catholics believe that good intentions absolve one of the ill results of one's actions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm

BTW, it would behoove anyone who believes that McCarthy was on a "witch hunt" to research how many people on his "list" actually DID acknowledge being Communists in later years, Communists actively working against the United States, in our government and as civilians.

Start with a few of Horowitz's books, or read "Coming out Conservative".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Where have you been all these years, TC? You could have saved me hours of confessional time. Or maybe you owe a few yourself ;-)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 21, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Perspective, thank you. Please do use the statement any time.

My understanding of Catholic teaching on the subject of sin, is that the intent to do evil is a sin - even if things turn out for the best. However, even if your intentions are "good" they are not a justificaton for committing a serious sin.
People are very facile at justifying their favorite sins. For instance; having consentual sex when not married doesn't hurt anyone. The harm is not immediately obvious (risk of pregnancy, STD's, and emotional harm) and thus can be ignored or minimized easily.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2008 at 10:22 pm

"BTW, it would behoove anyone who believes that McCarthy was on a "witch hunt" to research how many people on his "list" actually DID acknowledge being Communists in later years, Communists actively working against the United States, in our government and as civilians."

Against the United States? Come on. Communists are our friends.

Many, maybe most, of our consumer goods come from Red China, and W Bush's fiscal recklessness has put our country deep in hock to the Reds. Better be nice to them so they don't foreclose.

That same Bush looked into the soul (his words) of Vladimir Putin, a dedicated KGB officer, and liked what he saw. And ever wonder why Bush gave a pass to Communist Cuba, 90 miles from our shores, to bestow regime change on a non-Communist country halfway around the world instead? Don't give me that stock excuse that Cuba has no oil.

Take a clue. McCarthy was wrong. Disagree? Argue with our president.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Common Sense
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 22, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Communists are certainly your friends Paul. It is obvious from the comments you post on Town Square. They are not the friends of freedom loving people - like most of us who disagree with you.
You should be happy for any kindness that President Bush shows to your communist buddies, but alas, your hatred for the man overshadows everything else. (Have you confessed this sin, Paul?)
BTW, through the Freedom of Information Act, the intelligence data that was gathered in the Venona Project was released in 1996. It vindicated McCarthy completely, with incontrovertible evidence that he was right about the Soviet paid communist spies who worked in top positions in the U.S. government.
The left, using methods worse than any so called McCarthyism, hounded McCarthy to his death and beyond with their carping lies and character assassination.
The fact remains; McCarthy was right and the left was wrong - again and as usual.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

mccarthy had no evidence. he claimed he had a list of names, but he could never say with any consistency how many names were on the list -- because he was making it up. fear-mongering for personal gain.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Check the source
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 22, 2008 at 7:07 pm

McCarthy didn't have access to all the data, but he was not lying. It has all been verified now, thanks to FOIA. You can check it out for yourself - if you honestly want to know. The McCarthy haters were and are the liars.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Fireman
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2008 at 9:42 am

Just let the CPA staff at them... They will talk.. That kind of torture is the worst kind. Homeland weapons of Mass Desrtution.. Per CPA....Ask someone at the Childrens Theatre or maybe, Just ask the employee's..
If you cared???


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom Pained
a resident of another community
on Feb 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

American freedom is fortunate that your sense is not really common, CS.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Common Sense, I am only reporting on the evidence, which makes it overwhelmingly apparent that our present administration favors communists and communist regimes. (I should have included in my original list its kid glove treatment of the extreme Stalinist regime in North Korea, as Kim Jung Il paraded his brand new WMDs for the world to see.) And you yourself are propping up the Red Chinese every time you buy anything marked "Made in China," something I personally try to avoid.

Finally, please refrain from putting your words in my mouth. I do not hate G W Bush or anyone else. Indeed, one can only feel sorry for this pitiful excuse for a president, just as one can only hope for a speedy recovery for America after his regime.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Real Catholic
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Back to the off-topic topic of Catholicism and sin..Sin as defined by Catholics is anything which drives you away from the Divine, and the Divine is pretty much anything which is actually good for human beings ( to put it succinctly).Thus, the intent to do evil, even if turns out well, is still a sin because the intent is driving you away from what is good for humanity..so, an intention to commit adultery, for example, with all the grief such an act brings on spouses and children and community,...or if not caught, then on one's self in the form of guilt and worry and triangulation away from your spouse,..is still a sin even if on the way to the assignation you come across a car accident and save a life.

Obviously, there are varying types of sin, since every step taken is either closer to the Divine or further away from the Divine.

Just to clarify that point.

Now, back to the pointless bickering between sanity and insanity. ( I will have to confess that particular bit of biting sarcasm)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Change of Regimes!
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Paul, I can't wait for the pitiful excuses for president, Hilary or Obama, to implement their regime..but you are right, that doesn't mean I hate them!

McCain ain't much better..but at least he understands that we can't back down to fascists, has promised to never sign a budget with earmarks, and to make permanent the Bush Tax Cuts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by as
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 25, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Good for Eshoo! I support this move to ban waterboarding, as well as all forms of torture.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Disgusted With Anna
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Eshoo is just pandering to the useful idiot liberals that she knows are her supporters. I am greatful to the last remnant of masculinity, sanity, honor and intelligence in our armed forces for using harmless tools like waterboarding to protect untold numbers of innocent lives.
We all know that we cannot rely on ignorant, irresponsible and self serving politicians like Eshoo and most other democrats, when it comes to the national security of our country.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 26, 2008 at 10:39 am

"McCain ain't much better..but at least he understands that we can't back down to fascists, has promised to never sign a budget with earmarks, and to make permanent the Bush Tax Cuts."

We'll see if he keeps his promises any better than any other politician. But having been personally tortured as a POW, McCain can't be expected to be objective on waterboarding. So anyone wanting to continue the vicarious pleasures of having people they don't like tortured had better find another armchair Rambo to replace the one currently in the White House.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by perspective
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 26, 2008 at 11:21 am

Absolute guarantee. Too bad I can't make a bunch of money off of the leftsts on this one who think waterboarding should be in the same torture category as flaying, electrocuting, raping, burning, cutting off fingers, beating etc.

Here is the bet I would make if I could.

McCain, as President, will never support making waterboarding illegal to use. No democracy will make it illegal. Dictators will, of course, with no intention of following through, just like they sign treaties they have no intention of honoring.

Waterboarding is the only way remaining (that I know of) that we have to get information from people which is temporary, leaves no scars, leaves everything intact, does not humiliate, does not induce sexual gratification in anyone, and leaves everyone alive..

oh, and our military goes through it for training purposes..VOLUNTARILY I might add.

When was the last time you heard of anyone going through any of the other mentioned forms for training purposes?


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