Mar 8, 2008

On Waterboarding and Moral Standards

I was disappointed to see that President Bush vetoed the proposed ban on waterboarding and other forms of torture that the CIA and its operatives may have been using against terror suspects. The President argued that this is "no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe."

The bill, passed by both houses of Congress last month, would have also banned beatings, electrocution, burning, using dogs to terrorize suspects, stripping detainees, and forcing them to perform or mimic sexual acts.

Now, I recognize that the Democratic-controlled Congress has a political angle to pushing this bill, and that overriding President Bush's veto would be an election-year gambit that would pay dividends in the fall. Yet the Democrats - as well as Republicans who supported the ban, like John McCain - happen to be right on this one.

It is duplicitous for the United States to demand that other nations behave in a transparent and humane manner, while simultaneously engaging in some of the most egregious forms of torture and defying the Geneva Conventions, to which the U.S. has long been a signatory. The President can attempt to disguise American war crimes with flowery language like "specialized interrogation procedures" and "extraordinary rendition," but he got us into the Iraq War under the premise (among many) that we were replacing a brutal tyrant who terrorized his people.

For far too long we have ignored the abuses heaped upon detainees in the so-called War on Terror, let alone the violence perpetrated against innocent people like Khalid El-Masri and Abu Omar. If we truly believe that the United States is a beacon of freedom and hope to the rest of the world, then we need to act accordingly, as opposed to spending all of our waking moments trying to negotiate a quarter-point loan difference between a half-dozen mortgage lenders.

Otherwise, we are just another in a long line of nations comprised of state-sanctioned thugs and passive citizens who are cowed by fear against speaking out.


mud_rake said...

Not surprised at all; bush is a masochist ever since he tortured frogs on the family pond in his youth. He enjoys subjecting others to pain,

Anonymous said...

Remember Mike ... We're unpatriotic if we object. We're anti-American if we speak out against this.

microdot said...

It's Patriotic to be Paranoid!

How many reports and real studies have been trashed and ignored in George Bush's quest to appear to champion American Security over Human Rights and Dignity?
The acceptance of torture by the American People is a moral apogee...
We believe that we are doing what ever has to be done with what ever means neccessary to ensure our security, but in reality it is debased lowest common denominator morality. We are reduced to masses howling for revenge and blood.

Even the Nazis realized that torture did not give the desired results as far as useful information went.

What has it accomplished for us?
We have created a new pantheon of martyrs to feed the hate of America that our debased ethics have inspired on this planet

mud_rake said...

microdot- did you note that John POW McCain voted for it. Apparently getting votes is more important than personal integrity. But then, he is a Republican.

kooz said...

But let's at least admit if torture were banned and then we were attacked....liberals would be the first to say, "Bush did nothing to prevent it."

microdot said...

no, I don't think so, but you would, I'm sure.

Aren't you the guy who is running around telling people I am supposed to be pretending to be you?

I swear, I have never posted under another name than my own real name or my tag, microdot..

Someone from Toledo has been posting as "anonymous" on my blog threatening to turn me into the department of homeland security to the terrorist no fly list.

I don't take it seriously, but I will delete any comments by you or any of your shady aliases.

Anonymous said...

From Engineer of Knowledge:

Hello Kooz,
I would like to point out that during the 9/11 Congressional hearings, Condoleezza Rice ADMITTED that they had been warned but chose not to listen or heed the warnings because, in her own words, “They did not think it was of a high priority and shelved the reports.”

Before the 9/11 attack, Richard Clark, head of the CIA anti-terrorist, along with the person who was head of the FBI anti-terrorist division, who wrote the Phoenix Report, warned W. Bush and his administration that the Trade Towers were going to be attacked. He later resigned because the Bush administration refused to heed his warnings or even listen to the fact that the Trade Towers were going to be attacked by Bin Laden. The Bush administration obtained this information without the need for torture.

He left the FBI job to be head of security of the Trade Towers and unfortunately his warning came true. He lost his life when the Towers came down.

It was a known fact the Bin Laden was planning to attack but the crime was the incompetents of this Bush administration’s reluctantly to address the matter before hand which made it possible for the event to happen. Maybe they were too time consumed and focused by Cheney’s secret energy meetings at that time with Enron and the rest of the Oil / Coal Cartel’s planning to screw the American People by hijacking every segment of our energy needs.

Barb said...

I saw water boarding on that movie recently --on tv --about the female Navy Seal? Demi moore starred. It was part of her training to endure water boarding and no moral issue was raised. This is not a new movie. So I don't think it's anything new --or created by Republicans or Bush. He would logically not wish to tamper with military strategy used for decades.

It scares the victim --does it really injure him? and do they ever really drown anyone that way? Many torture methods prohibited by Geneva convention leave the victim injured --pulling out their fingernails as the No. Koreans recently did to a Christian from No. Korea who went back as a missionary/Bible smuggler. They have put people into painful contortions that injure them for life. Is water-boarding as bad as that?

In TV detective series and movies featuring the pursuit of heinous murderers/kidknapper/rapist types, the police knock people around and
apply some painful pressure out in the field to get confessions of what they knew from people who otherwise were NOT talking. And you watch and don't disapprove of how they get the info they need to prevent someone's death.

Barb said...

For sure, Kooz, whatever goes wrong in the country -it's always the GOP's fault.

I suppose if the Dems gain the power, we can blame (and will) everything that goes wrong on THEM.

This seems to be the way the political game is played to upend one regime to put in another.

steve said...

What if someone waterboarded you Barb, and the only way to make your tormentor stop was if you renounced Jesus and embraced Satan... Not the run of the mill smarmy mustachioed Mephistopheles, but a full on flaming homosexual Satan... Would you consider it torture in that instance, or just some sort of "harmless" interrogation technique?

Barb said...

I never said it was harmless. I ASKED if it were injurious the way many illegal tortures are --or does it just scare the person into talking? I would hope we had ways of scaring people into talking --what do you think would work? a nice meal and a feather bed? Think of the scenario of the people who know where the kidnapper has the person buried underground with a limited amount of air supply. Should we bribe the people to get the info? cajole, wheedle, work on their consciences (well, of course, that first) --but they won't tell--and it's your kid in the coffin underground. You bet you'd try water boarding or anything else to get a guy to talk. It's sad if the person really doesn't know anything.

I hope I could endure it. After my biopsy, I might be able to --and the root canal.

I hope I would be heroic and not cave. It's certainly permanently injurious and murder if you kill someone with this method or destroy their brain in some way.

I think it's awful --but in my scenario above, would it be justifiable --say it's your kid in the coffin. A little arm-twisting seems in order if dealing with people who don't seem to value the lives of others.

Barb said...

I bet it's fast.

steve said...

I'm but an individual, so of course I would do all I humanly could to save my family. I don't represent the "idea" of America to the rest of the world. My idea of America is that we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And that we willingly give our lives for our higher ideas, ideas such as human rights and human dignity. Sometimes the high road is a very tough road to go down... or up as it may be.

A few points. Your "ticking bomb" scenario is just a fantasy. And it has been proven many times over that detainees are more apt to cooperate with kind treatment. That's how they got Khalid Shaikh Mohammed to spill the beans.. just by offering him some Starbucks!

You need to take a break from the "24" Barb.

Barb said...

I don't think "kind treatment" would probably work as fast as needed in some situations --especially on one who has been bred from infancy to think his cruel cause is just. I suspect they DO try kindness in their arsenal of tricks up the sleeve to get people to talk. You admit that they DO use the soft approach -as well as the other.

Barb said...

Unfortunately, we get people in the military who are sadistically inclined before they get there --as we get unethical people in every career. Sinners abound. It's inevitable that our military will have some "bad actors." That doesn't mean we should overlook them.