Posted by Walter E. Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm
Some sermons are torture. In a world where some people will not voluntarily be nice, degrees of compulsion will be required. For me, being deprived of freedom of movement would be torture to the extent that I might risk my life and that of my jailors to gain freedom. In the seven jails I helped build or improve, this natural instinct of the imprisoned had to be kept in mind. Through the ages the balance between humanitarian treatment and the safety of society has been a problem. Holding prisoners is a nasty but necessary job. Those who do that job have a right to demand that criticism be in context. The criticism I have seen from the Liberation Theologists has, while letting the Isle of Pines slide, attacked the Hilton of prisoners, Gitmo.
Posted by R Wray, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm
I find the churches protests hypocritical considering the long history of torture by churches when they have political control as during the Inquisition and considering their glorification of crucifiction.
Sociologists of religion have been telling us that the process of secularisation has been a very long one and, indeed, they locate its origin precisely in the Enlightenment’s rejection of heteronomous authority and its affirmation of autonomy.
Historians, on the other hand, point out that faith flourished in industrial Britain in the 19th century and in the first part of the last century.
Indeed, it is possible to say that it continued to prosper well into the 1950s.
Was it long-term decline, then, or sudden demise?
In fact, there are elements of truth in both approaches.
It seems to be the case, however, that something momentous happened in the 1960s which has materially altered the scene: Christianity began to be more and more marginal to the “public doctrine” by which the nation ordered itself, and this state of affairs has continued to the present day.
Many reasons have been given for this situation. Callum Brown has argued that it was the cultural revolution of the 1960s which brought Christianity’s role in society to an abrupt and catastrophic end.
He notes, particularly, the part played by women in upholding piety and in passing on the faith in the home. It was the loss of this faith and piety among women which caused the steep decline in Christian observance in all sections of society.
Peter Mullen and others, similarly, have traced the situation to the student unrest of the 1960s which they claim was inspired by Marxism of one sort or another. The aim was to overturn what I have called the Evangelical-Enlightenment consensus so that revolution might be possible.
One of the ingredients in their tactics was to encourage a social and sexual revolution so that a political one would, in due course, come about.
Mullen points out that instead of the Churches resisting this phenomenon, liberal theologians and Church leaders all but capitulated to the intellectual and cultural forces of the time.
It is this situation that has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves.
While the Christian consensus was dissolved, nothing else, except perhaps endless self-indulgence, was put in its place.
Happily Marxism, in its various forms, has been shown to be the philosophical, historical and economic nonsense that it always was.
But we are now confronted by another equally serious ideology, that of radical Islamism, which also claims to be comprehensive in scope. What resources do we have to face yet another ideological battle?
Posted by watchful, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 2:47 pm
I'm all for the stoppage of all torture everywhere and will have no problem with this as long as it isn't used as a method of bashing the USA.
Unfortunately, I have no doubt that the focus will be on the not-condoned by the USA torturous humiliation of people in Cell C in Abu Graib ( meaning caught red-handed with the detonator in hand), instead of the slow beheading and bombing of innocents condoned by several terrorist nations and members of a couple fanatic groups.
By the way, as a reminder, did you know that those guilty of embarrassing guilty prisoners got sentenced more time in jail than pedophiles and murderers?
Posted by Also Christian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm
As a churchgoer myself, I know darn well that there is a definite moral question to be asked..is it better to waterboard someone and save 3,000 lives,..risking waterboarding an innocent, or not ever waterboard and allow the killing of 3,000?
I know which side I stand on, with a completely clear conscience.
Posted by embarrassed church member, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm
I am embarrassed that my church is one of the 275 who have been snookered.
Just because there are a few people in each church allowing themselves to be used in this manner, knowing full well how passersby are going to interpret the banner, please don't think we are all so foolish.
Posted by jr, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm
Al Gore may be fat, but he's no lady and as far as we know he can't sing.
Nonetheless, the Associated Press reports that "the next stop" for his hysterical global-warmist screed "An Inconvenient Truth" is opera:
La Scala officials say the Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to produce an opera on the international multiformat hit for the 2011 season at the Milan opera house. The composer is currently artistic director of the Arena in Verona.
Posted by Churchgoer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 5:02 pm
I am very pleased to see that my own Church is not included in the list.
I do not think that Churches should get involved in politics. Whether it is hanging banners with political messages, having sermons on political matters, telling parishioners who to vote for, or even getting involved in political debates (a la Obama's Church, pastor and guest pastor).
Churches should keep out of political issues. It is not what I go to Church for and not what I want to hear when I go there. If I want politics, I can go to political debates. If I want to worship God and learn more about the Bible and biblical truth, then that is what I expect to find at Church.
Posted by Bill, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on May 30, 2008 at 6:28 pm
Old St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, and Our Lady of the Rosary 'Churches' used to be three SEPARATE 'parishes' a/k/a 'churches'. But back in about 1987 they were joined into one administration unit - parish - now called St. Thomas Aquinas Parish with ONE pastor, ONE Advisory Board, and a very active Human Concerns Committee which seems to be involved in everything especially telling people 'how to think'. That committee has set itself up as everyone's moral conscience. There are not three distinct 'churches'. It is one church-parish that just happens to have three locations with one group doing the deciding, one advisory board agreeing, and one pastor OKing the decision. And a lot of parishioners are 'fed up'.
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on May 30, 2008 at 8:50 pm
re: Your statement, "The Unitarians do not define themselves as Christians, how can they call their building a church?" Christians have no exclusive right to call their places of worship by that word. Other religions can use it as they wish.
Posted by Churchgoer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 8:44 am
The accurate biblical description of the word "church" is a group of people meeting together with a common interest to worship God. Over the centuries the word has come to mean a building where these people meet. The word Church denotes a Christian church, and if a group of people who are not calling themselves Christian start using it, then they are trying to give the impression to others that they are Christian. To me, it is a sneaky way of trying to hide the fact that they are a sect of some sort rather than a traditional denomination or religion. It is true, that anyone can call their building a church, but why else would they want to? They could just as easily call their building a mosque or a synagogue, but they obviously don't want to send that message. They want to pretend that they are Christian to outsiders.
And Jesse, no Church should be in politics, not even megachurches or evangelical Churches. Size or denomination does not matter. Church is no place for political debate.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 12:51 pm
Reading through this thread, I think I see the issue. These churches have an attitude problem. They think they know God's will and they believe it trumps the will of the idol Bush who inhabits the temple known as the White House. To the minions of Bush there can be no greater heresy.
Posted by R Wray, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 1:15 pm
The 2nd definition of "church" in the OED states that it applies to any religion. I know that in Scotland many churches are now comfortable pubs or restaurants. That's progressive, but I don't know if they are still called churches.
Posted by t, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm
if you want to help fill the tank,you should be tested first to see if enougfh water is used.make sure they use an extra amount of water to make sure its fatal.your soul will be blessed by the lord when you die.we will pray for you!
Posted by Churchgoer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 5:06 pm
Any religion is welcome to use the word church as of course it can mean any religion. The point is, why would a new religion use the word church instead of meeting place or worship hall unless it wanted to give the impression to the community that they were a Christian denomination.
The word Church in itself is not wholly for Christians I agree and many traditional Church buildings in Britain are used for many other things. But, they still look and feel like a Church and no matter what they do falling short of demolition and rebuilding it will still look like a Church.
That is not what is being discussed. What is interesting to me is why would a non Christian religious group call their meeting place a Church unless they wanted to give the impression to newcomers, or neighbors, or the community at large, the idea that they are Christian.
Posted by Peter, a resident of another community, on May 31, 2008 at 7:02 pm
Churchgoer, re: "What is interesting to me is why would a non Christian religious group call their meeting place a Church unless they wanted to give the impression to newcomers, or neighbors, or the community at large, the idea that they are Christian." If they're not Christian, why in the world would they want to pretend they were. Everyone is entitled to define his or her own relationship with the entity they call God in whatever way they want and in whatever kind of building they want, biblical myths notwithstanding.
Posted by Churchgoer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 31, 2008 at 8:00 pm
My point exactly. Why in the world would then want to pretend they were (Christian)? They seem to be the ones calling their place of worship a Church, a name to which they are perfectly entitled to use, but gives the impression that they are something they claim not to be.
Posted by Speak up!, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 12:40 pm
I amm very, very pleased to see that I am not the only one fed up with a Church given "seal of approval" to one political message or another. We need to all start talking to our pastors!
From supporting a very thinly veiled approval of a banner which essentially equates the embarrassment and fear that Americans use to get information with the beheadings, electrocutions, flaying, bone breaking, starvation, rapes, etc of the groups we are fighting is not a far stretch to supporting a la Wright "God -_))(*& America" and telling us that Clinton is a racist.
I really, really resent any mixing of a "pastor-approved" message...implying that somehow God is on one side or another.
Start speaking up everyone! Leave your church and go to churches that stick with keeping politics out of the church!
Posted by Keep that line strong, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm
I already am. In the process of leaving my second church because of the mixing of politics into Church. It offends me deeply as an American citizen when a church I am tries to give God-approval to something political.
I have no problem with members of the church being highly political. In fact, I welcome a great, lively and enriching diversity of opinion for political solutions for various problems we face. I look to my pastor to help us learn/remember what we know about biblical and traditional calls to live out our faith in Christ ( obviously, I am a Christian). For example, helping the poor and the weak is amongst the top calls in my faith. But HOW we help the poor and/or the weak is not the business of the pastor to decide. It is up to us to decide.
If I, through prayerful study and reflection, come to the conclusion that the best way to decrease poverty in the next generation is to support solution A, but someone else decides solution B is the best, I want to be able to discuss my reasons and listen to his reasons without the knowledge that the pastor agrees with one or the other of us. I don't want either "my side" or "his side" to have "God's approval" on it.
So, if we all start helping our churches draw that line, I think we will be better off.
Posted by KathyP, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:19 pm
I understand the concept of a "just war", but I don't understand the concept of "just torture". I invite those who wonder why Unitarian Universalists are a "church" to visit us and find out more about our congregation. Churches have, and should, participate in moral debates about our society. Remember that the Civil Rights movement was led by churches in the South. They should not take or promote partisan politics, which is where the Religious Right and the Republican Party have gotten off course.
Yes, the Christian church in Europe called the Crusades, and supported the Inquisition, but it also has been a constant source of succor to the poor, sick, and vulnerable and the patron of great art and music. Is is fair to pick one or two examples from 2000 years as the defining character of Christianity or Christian Churches and by association, all churches and all religious institutions?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm
"I understand the concept of a "just war", but I don't understand the concept of "just torture" "
Do you understand the limited use of mild torture to prevent, or reduce war, "just war" or not? Many of those who jumped from the Twin Towers were tortured by flames, smoke and fear...before they jumped. How many innocent lives are you willing to sacrifice to your ideology?
A limited use of waterboarding by the CIA has proven very effective, and has saved many lives, thus preventing major torture.
Do you support waterboarding, on a limited basis, by the CIA, KathyP? If not, why not?
Posted by Christian, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:35 pm
Again, the Christian Church called for the Crusades, in order to allow Christians to continue the routes of pilgramage that they had been doing for 1,000 years before an Imam closed down the route to Christians.
It wasn't a willy nilly thing, it was a push back to the removal of an inherent "right", if you will, of a thousand years of pilgrams peacefully traversing routes to holy sites, much like the Muslims of today have their pilgramages.
So, do not buy into the "Crusades are proof of the evil of the Church" mentality. Whether or not there were horrors as a result of the Crusades, I am not arguing. Whenever massive numbers of people become involved in something, there WILL be horrors, regardless of the intent or the goodness of the majority of people.
The Inquisitions were another story, and visited upon fellow Christians who were of the "wrong stripe"...
And yes, if you understand "just war" then you understand "just torture". The question becomes...what is torture? How far is "just" in order to save innocent lives? What degree of certainty must we have before we employ stress methods of questionning? Is inducing fear torture? Is humiliation torture? At this point, we have never been accused of torture as it has been always defined..loss of or scarring of skin or limbs or organs, nerve damage or use of pain of any type..
If I had to choose between waterboarding or scaring the heck out of someone who BELIEVES they will be tortured in order to save one of my kids...or lose a kid because I didn't want to waterboard or scare someone..you bet I would waterboard.
What is moral in this question? Is it worth it for one innocent? 10? 1,000? Give a number where it is "moral".
If your answer is "zero", then maybe you are a Quaker, who will not lift a hand in defense when attacked. Ok, that is fine for you. I don't beleive that way. I believe in survival.
Posted by Myth Debunker, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 5:42 pm
Wow, I can't beleive you think the RELIGIOUS RIGHT AND REPUBLICANS have taken and promoted partisan politics in religion! That is astounding, given that the only churches I know which do any political ANYTHING are those on the left .....gay rights, anti-war demos, signing UN petitions, asking us to write our Congress over global warming, write our congress over border control ( against), write our congress over immigration ( let all illegals stay and jump the line) ..and on and on and on.
My family in churches in 3 other states...not one has ever had any politics introduced into their churches. And they are all conservative....
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 1, 2008 at 8:21 pm
I recently attended a service at St. Thomeas Aquinas and was surprised at the small number of faithful attending the service. After just one service, I understood why . . . the priest was lecturing about the right of illegal aliens to live in the U.S. That the was the one and only time that I attended service at that church.
I later learned that they actually have an individual there to deal with these issues. They won't be getting any of my money to foster their idea of what America should do when it comes to immigration.
For a priest to be lecturing me on what is and what is not "torture" is totally inappropriate. Likewise for what is appropriate behavior for those who dare to cross our borders illegally and then demand U.S. rights in our courts. I will never go to another service at that church.
Posted by Kim, a resident of another community, on Jun 1, 2008 at 8:56 pm
I am sort of surprised that "Myth Debunker" thinks only the left is political, because my perception is that the churches on the Right are far more political than the churches on the Left.
I think, however, that, with respect to churches, torture is not a political issue, it is a moral issue. Torture is immoral. It is up to churches to set us straight on what is right and wrong, and torture is wrong.
Two wrongs don't make a right.
Torture does not obtain useful information, that is a myth. What torture is is terrorism: it is a threat to the "other side" to terrorize them into being scared to oppose us.
What though you win the whole world but lose your own soul? Remember that line?
Unitarian Universalist churches have existed longer than most of your other Protestant churches.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:36 am
First, define your terms. Most people, thankfully, never have to make hard decisions in moral questions. When you hold the lives of friend and foe in your hands, sometimes all choices other than sucking your thumb become hard choices. Cutting the flesh of others is wrong, yet a valued and revered segment of our society does it every day. It is foolish to define a term in the context of polite society in a world that is not polite.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 7:26 am
"Torture does not obtain useful information"
Waterboarding is very effective in obtaining valuable information. Therefore, waterboarding is not torture, right? Therefore, all these churches must be talking about something other than waterboarding. I wonder what they have in mind. Do you have any idea?
You don't suppose they are objecting to the tortures that have been going on in Castro's Cuba for decades, without a hint of protest from these same churches? If so, why the sudden change of heart?
Posted by Kathleen, a resident of another community, on Jun 2, 2008 at 11:29 am
Who gets to define what a church is? For that matter, who gets to define what a Christian is? People with very different values and beliefs claim to have the same faith . . . peaceful Muslims and jihadists, liberal Chrisitans and conservative Christians. We could argue these points until we are exhausted!
I would like to add one statement of fact:
If you say that church is for Christians, I would like to point out that some Unitarian Universalists are Christians.
The rest is my personal commentary or opinion:
If you think that church is only for Christians who should not "associate" with people who do not identify as Christians, then I would ask how you expect Christianity to spread. Last time I checked it was because people were sharing "the good news."
I would like to ask if anyone really believes that Jesus would be for torture. I don't think so, but maybe that is just the way I interpret the Bible and the way I see Jesus. Perhaps you interpret things differently. I believe Jesus asked people to visit prisoners, not torture them!
I wonder how this whole conversation got started in the first place. I'm thinking that many of us would agree that the US government is torturing people because the government believes it will stop the violence. Personally, I disagree. I wonder if anyone believes that the people we torture, if they live, are not going to want to seek revenge against the US. If there is one thing that temps me to be violent, it is when another person commits an act of violence against me. This is one more reason, in addition torture violating the inherent worth and dignity of every person, that I am against torture.
Finally, I am against torture because love is the doctrine of my church. Therefor, I seek to engage in acts of love and peace and I seek to not engage in acts of hatred or violence. I hope that my government will do the same.
Posted by sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 1:52 pm
Are these churches protesting the torture and murder of Tibetan Buddhists and Falun members in China? good idea
Regarding what constitutes a Christian church, by their own definition
Unitarian Universalists do not define themselves as Christians
Many Unitarian Universalists consider themselves humanists, while others hold to Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, natural theist, atheist, agnostic, pantheist, pagan, or other beliefs. Some choose to attach no particular theological label to their own idiosyncratic combination of beliefs.
Many UU congregations have study groups that examine the traditions and spiritual practices of Neopaganism, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Pantheism, and other faiths.
There are Buddhist meditation teachers, Sufi teachers, as well as gnostic and episcopi vagantes clerics.
Some view their Jewish heritage as primary, and others see the concept of God as unhelpful in their personal spiritual journeys.
While Sunday services in most congregations tend to espouse Humanism, it is not unusual for a part of a church's membership to attend pagan, Buddhist, or other spiritual study or worship groups as an alternative means of worship.
Some Unitarian Universalists are also atheist or agnostic.
In a survey, Unitarian Universalists in the United States were asked which provided term or set of terms best describe their belief. Many respondents chose more than one term to describe their beliefs. The top choices were:
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 1:55 pm
OK, I get it. Churches better toe the Bush administration line or stay out of "politics." Like in WWII, when the Catholic Church under Pius XII stayed out of "politics" by tacitly condoning the Holocaust, for which it has been widely and rightfully denounced.
The Church did, however, condemn torture by the Communists. This latest act is a painful dose of ecumenism.
It's this simple: Churches either speak for God or they don't. If they do, mere mortals cannot disagree. If they don't, they aren't doing their job.
Posted by Kim, a resident of another community, on Jun 2, 2008 at 2:35 pm
This from HRW.org:
<i."Rejecting torture does not mean forgoing effective interrogations of terrorist suspects. Patient, skillful, professional interrogations obtain critical information without relying on cruelty or inhuman or degrading treatment. Indeed, most seasoned interrogators recognize that torture is not only immoral and illegal, but ineffective and unnecessary as well. Given that people being tortured will say anything to stop the pain, the information yielded from torture is often false or of dubious reliability.</i>"
and from a site that is quoting from the Washington Post:
<i>"Does torture work? The Bush administration has argued that, at a minimum, tough interrogation tactics do. But in the e-mail discussion below, four U.S. military experts with very different life experiences explain why they concluded that torture doesn’t work. The exchange is excerpted with their permission.</i>"
It goes n to give the testimony of four military persons. Read it here: Web Link
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:01 pm
You must not be referring to waterboarding, right?
Waterboarding has been shown to be VERY effective, especially against hard core, and highly valuable, al qaeda thugs, who refused all the typical ploys of good-cop/bad cop.
Kim, please explain your terms. I have to assume, from what you say, that the current campaign against torture by our local churches does NOT include waterboarding.
I still am asking you, Kim, are these churches condemning Cuba, under Castro? That would be a good place to start, if you want to talk about torture. Castro's goons practiced the old-fashioned tortures, like electrocution, flaying, beatings, starvation, etc. Most of them didn't work, becasue the victims had nothing to tell them in the first place...but yes, some of them said anything that came to mind to make it all end. The same is true of the Soviet Union and other European socialist states.
Posted by Kim, a resident of another community, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:11 pm
Gary, you are wrong. Waterboarding is just plain old ineffective torture.
Of course those churches have been objecting to torture and injustice wherever and whenever it occurs. It just requires special attention when it is our own country doing it: first because, in theory, we have more control over our own country than other countries, and, second, because we used to hold the moral highground by refusing to torture, and now we are on a par with those other countries you decry.
If your religion isn't forbidding torture, maybe you have , as the song says, followed the wrong god home....
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:25 pm
Of course torture is effective. Stalin used it routinely and got tons of confessions to crimes against the state, including terrorism. Many were from his old buddies who nobody would have suspected until torture proved so effective. Many people still admire Stalin and his methods.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:28 pm
"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."
Kiriakou said. "The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks." "
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:44 pm
"Of course torture is effective"
FINALLY an admission of the obvious from a leftie. Congratulations. Why do so many lefties insist that it is ineffective?
Now, can we, finally, have a rational discussion aout the use of torture, including degrees, selective targets, competence of those who use it, nations who use it, motivations, etc? Above all, can we discuss the number of innocent people saved by its use?
Posted by The Cohen Brother, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 3:54 pm
Waterboarding is torture. Japanease officers were condemned to death(and executed) by US military tribunals for ordering it. Moreover, any kind of torture is a form of terrorism. A government that sanctions torture becomes a terrorist government. The Bush/Cheney regime is a bona-fide terrorist government.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 4:28 pm
"Sarcasm is wasted on you, Gary"
You missed the deeper meaning. Never mind. You stumbled into the obvious, which is that torture does work, at least sometimes...AND that is can save many innocent lives. Would you at least concede that much?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:13 pm
"We disagree 180, Gary. You advocate Stalin's methods; I abhor them"
In other words, Paul, you welcome large amounts of death and torture, instead of just a little bit of it. If there was some way for FDR or Churchill to torture a few key people, and kill Hitler, before he unleashed hell on earth, that would have been the ultimate in moral exprssion; same versus Stalin. However, one of the most evil of world leaders is Ghandi, who advised the European Jews to just accept their fate under Hitler. Ghandi would not have tortured a house fly.
I am morally superior to you, because you refuse to dig deep. Yes, we are 180 apart. However, there is always hope, Paul...try to dig one shovel full of morality at a time. You will, eventually, arrive.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm
Gary: I see you really don't know about Stalin's famous purges, in which the old Bolsheviks that made the Revolution were tortured until they confessed to fantastically heinous crimes against the Soviet state they helped create. Torture is a very effective tool indeed - for tyrants.
Posted by ol' lady...NOT Code Pink, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 5:39 pm
Thanks NG...well said. Kill, maim, use of nerves to give pain, use as sexual objects...THESE are torture.
Scaring ( as in scared you will drown or scared that real torture will be used on you) or humiliating someone ( stripping them naked for view) is not "torture".
These obvious distinctions are lost on those who simply want to condemn America and close their eyes to the rest of the world and what we are fighting.
A little off topic, but along the same lines in showing ignorance, is the belief that we want to use cluster bombs, and so won 't sign the anti-cluster bomb treaty. The extremely naive folks who think it is because we are so evil do not understand that when we sign a treaty, we DO it..unlike virtually every other country in the world, which breaks treaties whenever convenient.
WE WILL NOT TIE OUR OWN HANDS, signing a treaty against cluster bombs, then having them used against us without our being able to have recourse.
The "torture" melee is a great example of the anti-American hatred that assures that we can't sign treaties....no protests, ever, at the UN against any of the beheadings, flayings, burnings, rapes, being eaten alive by dogs, mutilations, electrocutions ( sorry if I am making you sick) by the dictators that use such methods to enforce order....non-stop condemnation of Israel and the USA for non-torture interrogation methods to get information to bring down real torturers.
Need I say more?
The Israeli Code Pink equivalent quit after the Lebanion-Israeli war a couple summers ago. The leader said the group was wrong. They were no longer naive. They had learned that kindness, peace and understanding would always be met with murder and torture by Hamas and Hezbollah. They quit. I can read between the lines and know that some of those interviewed also felt guilty for contributing to the cause of those who started the war with Israel ( again) by siding with them. They were "useful idiots" to use a common phrase.
We have ours also, I just hope that they wake up before thousands more of our citizens die again.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 2, 2008 at 6:15 pm
"water boarding does not kill or maim, it gets would be mass murderers to give us information so that we can save 1000s of lives."
Total fantasy. Only the higher-ups in intel could know this for sure, and they can't, won't, and shouldn't talk. Bush administration propaganda is only more of the lies which that group tells routinely. See McClellan's new book.
On the other hand, torture works wonderfully for tyrants. Under torture, people will eventually confess to any script. Stalin claimed he "saved" the Soviet state, and 1000s of lives, using torture to bring its enemies to justice. Lots of people believed and still believe that.
Posted by oh no, just read this, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 7:03 am
Oh no. I am Catholic. I love my Church. This banner thing is very upsetting. I am sick to death of being quiet and letting these few very vocal people take over our church and turn it into an America bashing weapon. I may have to find a church which focuses on real social justice issues we can actually affect, like employment-training and services for the disabled and shut-in visitation rather than trying to look all meaningful with "social justice" issues.
I haven't said much because I think it would be impossible for any of them to understand how misguided they are, and I am used to living in an area which is extremely judgemental against any view that disagrees with what is presumed to be the "norm". I want to be able to go to church and be free of this judgement, being judged only by God. I don't think I will be able to walk into my church with some kind of banner over it, promoted by the UN nonetheless..which I despise and will never bow to.
Their lens ( our "Social Justice" group) sees the world in the classic unthinking, good hearted, but "useful idiot" lens. I have no doubt their intent is to say "shame on us, America", and I have been tolerating it because so far it has been kept out of the "we ALL support this" realm. But this looks like it is going to be something that means that if I am seen walking into the churches, then I support this banner.
I am not a useful idiot. I will not let myself take the chance of being photographed under this banner. I will not allow myself the risk of being used as propoganda against the last remaining bastion in the world for true freedom of speech, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The last bastion of the ability for true freedom of religion ( please note, even England is now trying to make it so that only Christians are not allowed to evangelize in certain areas for fear of "insulting" people of a certain other religion).
I invite anyone who wants to criticize us as "torturers" to please find and move to a country they think is kinder to those caught red-handed trying to kill their citizens.
And, frankly, I would rather be in Guantanamo Bay than in any USA prison. Or any prison in the rest of the world. Look up the conditions under which those prisoners live, and those of the military who guard them.
Quit it, Social Justice people. Stop trying to force your world veiw on the rest of us. Do what you want to do with your lives and your volunteer work, but stop trying to make the rest of us conform to being unwilling participants.
I will have to think about if I have the courage to go to our priest. He is a wonderful, wonderful man. I am sure he would listen well and be understanding. He is really a great role model. But, I also really, really hate to bring anything up in dissent. And, if he agrees with this stuff....which now that I think about it, he must, since he has to be the final voice of approval...darn....
Posted by Paul D, a resident of the Leland Manor/Garland Drive neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 7:47 am
The US Constitution mandates that any international treaty the US ratifies shall become the supreme law of the land. Any type of torture is an extremely serious crime under US law. Water-boarding is strictly prohibited by the 4th Geneva Convention which is also the supreme law of the USA.
The assaults of the Bush regime on civil liberty, the Constitution, and the separation of powers are more determined and more successful than its military assaults on the Middle East, which provide the “war time” justification for the attack on civil liberty in the United States. The regime and its supporters are determined to raise the president to dictatorial powers, at least in times of war, the initiation of which is being turned into a presidential prerogative.
Posted by Zenlike, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 8:00 am
I just returned from Europe and was told by friends there that there's extensive work done by several prominant human rights organizations to prepare war crime indictments for many members of the Bush-Cheney regime, starting with Bush and Cheney. They are waiting for the inauguration of a new US president. I am starting to organize on the US side in order to expedite the process so it doesn't drag on for years. My hope is to see the entire regime shipped off to the International War Crimes Court in the Hague within a year after leaving office.
Posted by Churchgoer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 8:46 am
There are plenty of bible based Churches in the area where your views on church non-involvement in political affairs are the norm. As you say, it is fine to have discussion on political issues in the right context, but not from the pulpit and not with banners which make it appear that the whole congregation is in agreement with a particular I feel sure you will find somewhere you will feel welcome.
Posted by Morris, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 9:59 am
Given that the Churches of Palo Alto protested Ho Chi Minh's Death Camps, and displayed banners expressing the outrage of Pol Pot's treatment of the Cambodian people, and was a national leader in exposing Saddam Hussein's torture chambers and mass executions--it's only fitting and proper that they oppose the US use of "waterboarding" as the most cruel torture ever used by one human being on another.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 2:51 pm
"Got a conundrum here, folks"
Not really, Paul, you just have constipated thinking.
As you know (but don't say here), McCain was under constant torture, and he finally broke and signed a confession to that effect. The N. Viewtnamese communists could have gotten it a lot quicker, if they had just waterboarded him once. That would have saved McCain a whole bunch of beatings. Extracting propaganda from POWs is no big deal, except for those who want to believe it (like you, Paul).
The critical issue surrounding waterboarding is that it works, and works quickly and crucial, time-sensitive information is gained...which has already save many innocent lives in the war against the jihadists...even though it has only been used a few times.
Since Paul likes to cherry pick statements, I think it is fair to give the actual text of the interview with Mike Wallace (60 Minutes, 1997):
WALLACE: (Voiceover) People who know McCain well say he can hold a grudge. He also has a legendary temper. But if McCain can be hard on his friends and even harder on his enemies, he can also be very hard on himself.
Sen. McCAIN: I m--made serious, serious mistakes and did things wrong when I was in prison, OK?
WALLACE: What did you do wrong in prison?
Sen. McCAIN: I wrote a confession. I was guilty of war crimes against the Vietnamese people. I intentionally bombed women and children.
WALLACE: And you did it because you were being tortured...
Sen. McCAIN: I...
WALLACE: ...and you'd reached the end of the line.
Sen. McCAIN: Yes. But I should have gone further. I should have--I--I never believed that I would--that I would break, and I did."
Posted by Alex, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 6:17 pm
McBush is a war criminal by his own admission. He knowingly flew missions designed to attack civilians and civilian targets in order to terrorize civilian populations. He claims to have been tortured, but some of his fellow POW claim that he had told his captors everything they wanted him to say in order to avoid torture. More importantly- torture makes you as bad as the terrorists you torture, even when they are real terrorists and not the mostly unlucky souls the US has been torturing. Again-a country engaging in torture becomes a terrorist country and loses its rights to protest terrorism.
Posted by what a joke, a resident of the Monroe Park neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 8:48 pm
Uh, I will join any church which tried to bring Saddam Husssein's crimes against humanity to the public eye.
Which ones did that and please provide a reference.
BTW, it is a completely laughable joke that anyone is trying to "capture" Bush-Cheney and bring them to trial for war crimes. No democracy will support such idiocy, and anyone who tries to do it will simply be yet another laughingstock.
I will support it after every dicatator in the world is tried and convicted.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 9:12 pm
"I see. McCain was tortured into confessing. Does that make his confession more credible or less"
Who cares? It was just a propaganda piece. That matterred to the communists, and their fellow travelers, like yourself, Paul, but rational people dismissed it.
When the CIA waterboards a top jihadist, they are not looking for the guy to suddently convert to Christianity...they are looking for the details of networks, names , places, operational intel, etc. In other words, the CIA is looking for intel that helps them defeat the enemy tacticly, perhaps even strategically. Waterboarding is a very effective tool for accomplishing that task, if it used by professionals that know how to triangulate the answers given.
Posted by Daddy knows best?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 9:17 pm
It is remarkable how the dedication to our lying, dishonest, shallow, uncurious president causes some people to defend anything he does, including torture.
They have turned him into a god and support his dishonest, illegal and immoral actions. What a strange bunch. Daddy knows best is what they were rigidly taught as children and they haven't matured much since.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm
No, don't rest your case, because you have not made it.
Torture, in order to get confessions for propaganda purposes is useless, IMO, but appraently you think otherwise, Paul, since you so readily rant about McCain and his "war crimes". I, on the other hand, have consistently said that waterboarding, used selectively by the CIA, is very effective in extracting highly valuable intel from jihadist leaders. I have further said that such methods have saved many innocent lives.
Perhaps it is my moral and intellectual superiority that has you so confused.
Can somebody, somewhere, make a rational argument against waterboarding used agaisnt jihadist thugs, by the CIA?
Posted by Gary, nobody can, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 6:58 am
Gary, nobody can. That is why it is constantly referred to only with the word "torture", because the vast majority of people are, rightfully, opposed to torture. When you tell them that our OWN MILITARY chooses to undergo waterboarding in order to understand it better, people can't believe it. Who would volunteer for torture?
It is because it isn't torture in any universally understood sense. It is terrifying and primal, feeling like you are about to drown to death. But, it isn't torture as in any other sense, including Geneva convention sense.
Posted by Paul, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 9:25 am
"Can somebody, somewhere, make a rational argument against waterboarding used agaisnt jihadist thugs, by the CIA?"
Yes. It doesn't work. The information extracted isn't credible. Your dissertation in this thread with the Wallace-McCain exchange proves it. You discredited the most famous torture-induced confession of all time. Thank you.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm
CIA as in USSR has missles in Cuba in 1962.
BTW, it is a slam dunk that Saddam had, and used WMD. Saddam wanted the CIA (and others) to believe that he still had stores of them. Saddam ended up swinging at the end of rope. Of course, all of this could only be established, once GWB liberated Iraq.
Paul, you simply are not capable, intllectually or morally of keeping up with me. You use the most hackneyed leftie arguments, like most hatriots. You refuse to do any deep digging.
Here is a simple question for you: What is the role of Hans Blix in providing a misleading report on Saddam's WMD?
Posted by jr, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 2:08 pm
Water boarding is really a form of psychiatric therapy like electroshock treatment.
Jihadists have delusional suicidal and homicidal tendencies, like patients who are psychotically depressed.
They have been brainwashed into a suicidal/ homicidal cult
Treatment by water boarding enables the jihadist patient to talk and gain insight into the irrationality of his delusions; this insight can also save the lives of innocent victims, a net benefit for all.
Unlike electroshock there is no danger of brain damage with water boarding.
Psychiatrists use electroshock where the benefits out way the risks for psychotically depressed patients the same principle should apply to psychotically delusional jihadists.
This psychotherapeutic frame Vis a Vis jihadists has been successfully
adopted in Saudi Arabia and England.
Water boarding should be applied by trained experts for the benefit of the jihadist and society at large within this larger psychotherapeutic approach and we should also consider the use of psychopharmacology drugs to help these jihadist gain insight.
Posted by DownWithBush, a resident of Stanford, on Jun 5, 2008 at 4:48 pm
If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gets the death penalty, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Rice should get the same punishment following a war crimes and treason trial. They are all murderers and war criminals, only Bush and Co are murderers on a much larger scale.
Posted by So Some, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 5:33 pm
"Please name the CIA insiders, who used waterboarding, and who have come public and who have made this statement. Have they also refuted the intel gained from its (waterboarding) use?"
See the report by the Intelligence Science Board, which advises the intelligence agencies. The report said there is little evidence that hard methods produce the best intelligence. Read up on the Army's top interrogator during WWII, who extracted plenty of actionable intelligence and has said repeatedly that torture does not work. Then keep reading. There is a long history of failed interrogations by people convinced, like you, that torture must work. France in the middle ages, the French in Algeria, the Gestapo.
There is no evidence that torture produces results. In particular, waterboarding has produced no actionable intelligence in the war on terror. The other obvious objection, of course, is that it's wrong and un-American. (It's also awkward that we convicted a number of men of war crimes for waterboarding.)
"Treatment by water boarding enables the ... patient to talk and gain insight into the irrationality of his delusions; this insight can also save the lives of innocent victims, a net benefit for all." Very subversive. Are you suggesting waterboarding for Bush, Cheney and Rummy?
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 6:30 pm
"There is no evidence that torture produces results. In particular, waterboarding has produced no actionable intelligence in the war on terror. "
I have already provided specific evidence that puts your argument down. However, you provide NO evidence to support your argument, other than generic pablum. If you want to be considered an adult, in terms of debate and argumentation, you MUST deflate the evidence that the CIA developed serious intel via waterboarding. If you cannot do this, then you are putty in my hands (nothing new, of course).
When am I EVER going to have a SERIOUS intellectual and moral argument to counter my own? Somewhere, out there, there MUST be at least some mortal that can make a rational argument against me. Thus far, on this blog, I have not found him/her. This is getting boring.
Here is some fresh meat for you:
George W. Bush will be seen as the GREAT LIBERATOR.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 7:06 pm
"George W. Bush will be seen as the GREAT LIBERATOR."-yeah, like Hitler was seen as a liberator.
Active duty military lawyers have said today that the entire process leading to the charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other defendants has been so flawed and violated so many constitutional and military justice principles, procedures and practices, that they felt ashamed and that if they weer allowed to elaborate, the nation would feel ashamed too. The defendants had been hidden for years in "black" sites around the world, tortured and abused. Anything the CIA claims to have gotten out of them is worthless. The Bush regime has outbolsheviked the Bolshevists. No one in the civilized world believes the Bush regime vis-a-vis those defendants(or vis-a-vis anything else for that matter) regardless of whether they were involved in terrorisms or not, nor should any American.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2008 at 8:41 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
It is very easy to destroy leftist/hatriot arguments, for one very simple reason: They are wrong, becasue they come from an ideologically flawed base. They espouse the state as the supreme being, especially the power of the state to redistribute wealth and (anti-)freedom. If the state refuses to develop along this model, then the lefties/hatriots refuse to support the state. They especially hate the idea of individual freedom, and the patriotism that has supported this freedom in the USA.
It, really, is that simple. From this basic understanding comes the profound idea that America supports relative freedom, wherever it is suppressed. Combine this notion with American national interests, and it is quite natural to find us heavily involved in liberation movements...like Iraq and Afghanistan.
Will Barack be travelling to Iraq, soon, in order to begin his understanding of the liberation that GWB caused? If not, what is he afraid of?
Posted by Rod, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 6:47 am
As Senator Jim Webb so accurately said, trips to Iraq by US politicians are nothing but a "dog&pony show". The occupation force arranges for a controlled propaganda tour that's as authentic and informative as a Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean Ride. Barack should demand a visit where he can travel thorough Iraq with adequate security anywhere he wants, and speak with whomever he wishes to speak with without the presence of military and Pentagon commisars. Otherwise, he wouldn't learn a damn thing and would become part of the Bush-Cheney propaganda apparatus. Remember McShame's phony visit when he claimed that shopping was safe while guarded by a couple of hundreds Marines and helicopters hovering above? Let McShame participate in Bush's propaganda games, Barack has far too much integrity and decency.
Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:05 am
Rod....do you really think that our politicians are restricted in their access in Iraq?
Good God almighty, you have a very distorted view of what freedom looks like. Restricted was CNN under Saddam. Where the CNN chief admits to simply spitting our propoganda under Saddam's rules in order to be allowed the "privilege" of staying in Iraq.
There is now a FREE PRESS in Iraq, the first free press, aside from Israel, in the entire Middle East, and FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT in Iraq for all peoples, the first, again aside from Israel, in the entire Middle East. Including for any politician who cares to travel there. Especially Americans, who Al-Maliki publicly thanks on a regular basis, for freeing the people of Iraq and for not giving up on them too soon.
Posted by Perspective, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:13 am
Rod....or is this the framework you have built for understanding why your favorite candidate disdains our military and disdains the freedom that we have brought in Iraq ( not to mention more safety for the area and security for us..please note, one less head-of-state to pay terrorists to kill Israelis at $25,000 per suicide-homicide, or to sell weapons to terrorists to sneak into the USA and kill us with. STATED GOAL heard by many, many times, by Saddam)
You have to learn which side of "the line" you want to be on, Rod. On the side of freedom and safety, or on the side of terrorism and tyranny. Your candidate is on the side of tyranny, no matter how many times he tries to now backpedal his way out of his silly statements about talking to such people as Ahmadinijad without preconditions or invading Pakistan to find Osama.
Just realized, we have strayed off topic. Back to topic, I will not go into a church that has that banner on it, if it says anything that can be construed as anti-American. It will only work for me if it says "No more torture in the world" or something like that. If it just says "end torture", the dingbats around here will assume that, of course it means end AMERICAN interrogation techniques ( which are not any more "torture" than our prisons...probably less so since there is not actual bodily damage done, like in prison by other prisoners).
Posted by Rod, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:24 am
"Freedom and Safety"-4 million displaced Iraqis, 1.5 million dead and wounded, such a deal. Are you kidding me? Bush is the greatest terrorist the world has seen since Stalin died. Visits by US politicians to Iraq are laughable dog&pony shows designed solely as propaganda junkets. The occupation regime controls where they go and who they meet. McShame's visit is reminiscent of the grotesque propaganda visits to Soviet factories the Soviet regime would arrange for the foreign press in order to demonstrate the great "success" of their industry. You are watching too much Faux Noise.
Posted by Do some research, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 9:19 am
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Neither you nor the government has produced a scrap of evidence that waterboarding has ever, in the history of the world, produced any worthwhile intelligence.
Waterboarding is torture, and torture is a moral abomination. Even McCain knew this until he sold his soul to the rightist wackos in his party in exchange for a shot at being torturer in chief.
GW Bush will be remembered as the nitwit who pushed Iraq into decades of murderous chaos that spread across the Middle East. Make no mistake: the U.S. will slink out of Iraq sooner or later, blood on our hands, and our country will be at greater risk from terrorists. These are the results Bush will be remembered for.
Posted by Jane, a resident of the Professorville neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:26 pm
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Wednesday dismissed the idea that taunting terrorism suspects with women's panties is a form of torture.
In a debate about detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the California Republican cited panties eight times, arguing that making suspected terrorists wear women's underwear on their heads isn't demeaning and degrading enough to be called torture.
"You're suggesting that the behavior of, what, panties on his head ... is unacceptable interrogation technique for a man who was involved in a conspiracy to kill tens of thousands of Americans?" Rohrabacher asked during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 1:58 pm
I remember a lecture I once attended at Tel Aviv University during a visit to israel in Israel. The speaker, a retired general and former former Israeli military intelligence chief, spoke extremely eloquently on how torture is both useless and immoral.
The effectiveness of torture in generating intelligence is questionable at best. But we do know that torture produces many false confessions and new enemies, and distracts from more effective, legitimate techniques of interrogation and intelligence-gathering. We also know that democracies that have turned to torture in counterinsurgency – for example, the French in Algeria – have lost, while the British found a solution in Northern Ireland after they gave up abusive tactics.
Posted by DownWithBush, a resident of Stanford, on Jun 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm
Torture during interrogations rarely yields better information than traditional human intelligence, partly because no one has figured out a precise, reliable way to break human beings or any adequate method to evaluate whether what prisoners say when they do talk is true.
Experts also say that there is no such thing as "light" torture. Detainees are just as likely to tell their interrogators whatever they want to hear under psychological distress as they are under physical distress. Democracies, rather than dictatorships or oppressive regimes, are more likely to engage in this seemingly stealthy kind of torture because it is easier to hide from journalists and citizens.
Torture is a sign that a government either does not enjoy the trust of the people it governs or cannot recruit informers for a surveillance system. In both cases, torture to obtain information is a sign of institutional decay and desperation, and torture accelerates this process, destroying the bonds of loyalty, respect and trust that keep information flowing. As any remaining sources of intelligence dry up, governments have to torture even more.
Torture also gives a fake sensation of power to the executioner, fact that has a positive feedback that further fuels more violence. Psychological and physical torture has persisted not because it necessarily works, but because of an institutional history of the practice. The interrogators themselves tend to believe in its efficacy, and no matter what you do, you can't stop them once they start.
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm
The waterboarding techniques are controversial among experienced intelligence agency and military interrogators. Many feel that a confession obtained this way is an unreliable tool. Two experienced officers have told ABC that there is little to be gained by these techniques that could not be more effectively gained by a methodical, careful, psychologically based interrogation. According to a classified report prepared by the CIA Inspector General John Helgerwon and issued in 2004, the techniques “appeared to constitute cruel, and degrading treatment under the (Geneva) convention,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 9, 2005.
It is “bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture’s bad enough,” said former CIA officer Bob Baer.
Larry Johnson, a former CIA officer and a deputy director of the State Department’s office of counterterrorism, wrote in the Los Angeles Times, “What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.”
Posted by Carica, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 4:53 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Numerous people who served in the US armed forces, unlike the almost entire Bush regime opposed the war and are calling for a withdrawal. One of them is Se. James Webb. A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Webb served as a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and is a highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with the Reagan administration, Webb served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, then as Secretary of the Navy. His son, a Marine Corps officer has served a few tours in Iraq.
Common Gary, call him a traitorous anti-American/siding with jihadists/ blame America firster. After all, he despises Bush and has been strongly opposed to the Iraq invasion and to torture, including waterboarding.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 5:03 pm
"“What real CIA field officers know firsthand is that it is better to build a relationship of trust … than to extract quick confessions through tactics such as those used by the Nazis and the Soviets.”"
OK, sarlat, you have provided a rational argument. What you have failed to consider is the possibility that waterboarding, in combination with other methods, administered by the CIA on high value jihadist targets, provides high value intel.
Please refer to the reference I have already provided. There are other references, from CIA insiders, but I think I provided the best one (made public). If you continue to argue that waterboarding is not effective, in this context (which is what I have consistently argued), then you MUST have some super-insdier knowledge to the contrary. If so, please provide....
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 5:24 pm
It provides quick and extremely unreliable information, and I listened to a 90 minute talk about this very same topic given by a former chief of the Israeli military intelligence. Japanese military officers were executed by US military courts in 1945 for ordering the waterboarding of US soldiers. Waterboarding is strictly outlawed by the 5th Geneva Convention and makes no exception between military detainees and any other kind-it's forbidden across the board. The ban on torture, including waterboardng, is also the supreme law of the US. This makes the entire bush regime eligible for war crimes charges AND for breaking US laws. A government authorizing waterboarding and other kind of torture becomes a lawless and terrorist government, end of story.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 5:42 pm
Carica, Jim Webb is all over the map, with respect to Iraq. Ask him, at this point, if he wants to cut and run, like you do. I seriously doubt it, becasue he can smell victory. He is more concerned about politicians who promte a given war, yet fail to stay the course. On this score, he needs to look into his own mirror. Don't forget that he remains a backer of the Vietnam War (good for him!).
Webb has a very legitimate argument that those who make war tend to send other peoples kids into it. I completely agree with him. We should have a draft...of ALL people who have not served in the military, including me.
Webb has also pointed out that the Scots-Irish are the warrior sect in America. He is one. It is a legitimate point, although limited. There are a few other such groups.
Webb tends to get pissed off, and legitimately so, sometimes, however, I seriously doubt that he wants to cut and run from Iraq at this point.
BTW, Barack is about to seriously disappoint his cut-and-run supporters, if he gets elected (espcially if Webb is his VP). The essential question, in this upcomming election, is victory and freedom versus defeat and near-apocalyptic
defeat (not to mention the massive destruction of womens' right of free expression, around the world).
Posted by sarlat, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2008 at 7:25 pm
Wrong as usual Gary. Webb wants a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, subject to a carefully drawn logistical plan by the military, to ensure a safe and orderly withdrawal. Webb keeps saying, and I totally agree with him, that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home safely ASAP. Anybody who wants to keep them in Iraq where they keep getting killed in an illegal war is AGAINST the troops. Barack is an incredibly bright person and he knows very well that if he fails to end the US Iraq involvement pronto, he'll lose his party and become a one term president. You can bet the farm that he will bring our troops home, although maybe not as fast as this Vietnam veteran would like him to.
Webb keeps distancing himself from cut-and-run strategies that he favored last year. What if "diplomacy" doesn't work? He has created a new narrative (as most politicians, who play to the crowd, do).
Watch Obama begin to create some space from his own rhetoric.
Bottom line: Neither Webb nor Obama want to go down in history as the team that snatched defeat from the jaws of vitory in Iraq...and unleased hell on earth. Iraq is a done deal, as long as we stay the course.
I would be amused to see you abandon the Democrats. Where would you go? After Obama's one term, which Repbulican do you think will be the Prez in 2012?
Posted by Family Member of Military, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 10, 2008 at 6:13 pm
Sarlat, if you are truly a Vietnam Vet, you may be confused between then and now.
THEN: We had the draft and people had to go who didn't want to.
NOW: EVERY enlistment is VOLUNTARY, and Iraq has the highest rate of re-enlistment,,....EVER.
So, doncha think we should support our troops by trusting that they know what they are signing up for and letting them finish the job?
I would be with you 100% if this were a draft..but since it is adults making adults choices, capable of voting with their feet..I support the troops by supporting their choices.
Now, back to the thread...I have decided not to go to any church this month that has that ridiculous banner. I simply cannot walk in the door. So, if any of you see a stranger or two in your church, that would be me visiting until the June month is over. Then, next year, you can bet I will be vocal and present at any meeting where this subject is discussed again.
I will support this banner disply next year if in the meantime we also have other monthly banner displays proclaiming that abortion is wrong, divorce is wrong, terrorism is wrong, beheading is wrong, adultery is wrong, lying is wrong...etc.
At least then it will be a consistent and in context message, not a charged political message as this one clearly is intended to be...by people who think that embarrassment and humiliation is "torture".
Posted by are the banners still up?, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:28 pm
I haven't been by my churches yet this month..Are the banners down in the Catholic Churches? Did they ever go up? I avoided our church and went to another town. ( I admit, I am a chicken and simply didn't want to deal with the emotional result of seeing them if they were up)