Abstract Argument (v. 2)

Abstract Argument — By on April 7, 2007 at 1:16 am

This series presents an abstract from a journal article as a proposition for debate. Knowledge of the article itself is not assumed and is not required to participate in the discussion. Any points within the following abstract are open for consideration:

Context: After the reports of human rights abuses by the US military in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, and Afghanistan, questions have been raised as to whether certain detention and interrogation procedures amount to torture.
Conclusions: Ill treatment during captivity, such as psychological manipulations, humiliating treatment, and forced stress positions, does not seem to be substantially different from physical torture in terms of the severity of mental suffering they cause, the underlying mechanism of traumatic stress, and their long-term psychological outcome. Thus, these procedures do amount to torture, thereby lending support to their prohibition by international law.

From: Torture vs Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment: Is the Distinction Real or Apparent? Metin Basoglu, MD, PhD; Maria Livanou, PhD; Cvetana Crnobaric, MD, Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64:277-285.



  • smmtheory

    The conclusions are subjective and based upon the desired outcome of the people making the conclusion. Using the same standards, giving a kid a time-out (making the child stand with their nose in the corner) would be considered torture, as would any other behavior modification technique (such as Basic Training in the military).

  • http://rememberruss.blogspot.com/ Russ

    The day George W. Bush’s attorney general, Gonzales, started messing around with the Geneva Convention’s rules on torture is the day they purposely played with fire..and got burned. The whole torture theme has done untold damage to our countries honor at home and abroad. Make no mistake, torture is bad, period.

  • smmtheory

    Russ, nobody is arguing that torture is bad. The trouble is, your definition of torture is designed to prevent any progress being made during interrogation of terrorists. Why is that, by the way? Are you overly fond of people that would slit your throat as soon as look at you, or is it just because there’s a fellow in the White House that is not a Democrat?

  • JohnW

    Not much to say about this one, except the Bush administration’s definition of torture conflicts with the rest of the world’s definition of torture. With this administration the Geneva Conventions are considered “quaint” and outdated.
    That christians would still support this administration and it’s undermining of our constitution, the treatment of detainees, occupation of Iraq-is outrageous.
    You don’t have to be a member of the “Left” to speak out about this sort of thing. Check out the Liberty Coalition’s website and their American Freedom Agenda.

  • Russ

    ssmtheory,
    If by my definition you mean going by the historic Geneva Convention, then yes let the consequence be. Not one ounce of bending the rules will gain any useful info. anyway. We won WWII with the old method and beat torture loving SOB Nazis.

  • ucfengr

    We won WWII with the old method and beat torture loving SOB Nazis.
    Accepting your premise for the moment (which I don’t, FDR played a lot faster and looser with the rules than GWB could ever hope to), the ROE in WW2 was more than a little bit different than those we operate under now. For example, during WW2 we firebombed entire cites and used nuclear weapons. I doubt you would approve of those tactics in Iraq or Afghanistan.

  • ucfengr

    Russ, let’s also not forget that the German and Japanese soldiers were uniformed combatants, unlike our present enemy. If an enemy soldier was caught out of uniform, behind the lines it was customary to shoot him out of hand.

  • Russ

    I’d need to see some proof that FDR o.k.ed a routine change in the G.C. One can go back even further though. You mentioned the Civil War once. Only one instance of using torture was tried. A No, General strung some Reb up by his thumbs and left him till morning whereupon they found him insane and useless. As for firebombing and using nuclear weapons, you have a point, but with hind sight the military found those tactics were not very successful in stopping the enemy.
    I have several sources and information on this topic
    http://rememberruss.blogspot.com/2007/03/torture.html

  • Russ

    A WWII historian, James L. Stokesbury has this to say about bombing.
    Arthur “Bomber” Harris predicted firebombing Cologne would “permanently wipe it off the map.” “He was far off on this.” Also predictions that the Germans would break under the bombing proved false,
    He also states that one of the big blunders of Hitler was to go in for big bombers and not developing jets more, which could have defended the homeland.

  • ex-preacher

    The Bush Administration has been arguing successfully that detainees held by the US at Guantanamo and elsewhere are not protected by the US Constitution. I’m no legal expert, so I won’t try to dispute their reading of the letter of the law.
    I will, however, argue that by denying basic human rights to these detainees, Bush is violating the spirit of our Constitution. When the founders enshrined such rights as habeas corpus, a speedy trial by one’s peers, and forbade the use of cruel and unusual punishment, they were stating that these are universal human rights. They weren’t saying that only people who happen to be American citizens deserve humane treatment.
    When Jefferson wrote that all are endowed with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, did he really mean to say only Americans are endowed with these rights?
    Besides our own Constitution and Declaration of Independence, the US was the primary author and signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among other provisions, the UNDHR says:
    Article 5.
    No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
    Article 6.
    Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
    Article 7.
    All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. . . .
    Article 8.
    Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
    Article 9.
    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
    Article 10.
    Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
    It is a great dishonor to ourselves and our fundamental principles that we are treating our captives as deserving less than these fundamental human rights. It will be a long time before we can clean away the stain upon our honor and national reputation that Bush has caused.

  • ucfengr

    I’d need to see some proof that FDR o.k.ed a routine change in the G.C.
    How about some proof that GWB did so, Russ? FDR was never one to let blind obedience to rules get in the way of results, his “court packing” scheme shows that quite clearly. But the reality is you are comparing apples, not even to oranges, but to unicorns. Captured German soldiers were accorded the rights under the Geneva Conventions because Germany was a signatory and for the most part accorded US prisoner those rights. If Germany had stopped according US prisoners those rights, we would have been under no obligation to accord captured German prisoners the rights. Al Queda is not a signatory and does not accord their prisoner rights under the GC, so we are not bond to accord captured Al Queda members rights under the GC.
    A No, General strung some Reb up by his thumbs and left him till morning whereupon they found him insane and useless.
    I hope our interrogation methods are a little more sophisticated than that.
    As for firebombing and using nuclear weapons, you have a point, but with hind sight the military found those tactics were not very successful in stopping the enemy.
    My point was not related to the effectiveness of these tactics but to show that there is no comparison between a total war between several nation states and what is really a proxy war between us and Iran/Syria. The tactics and strategies are going to be completely different.
    When the founders enshrined such rights as habeas corpus, a speedy trial by one’s peers, and forbade the use of cruel and unusual punishment, they were stating that these are universal human rights. They weren’t saying that only people who happen to be American citizens deserve humane treatment.
    ex, the preamble to the Constitution reads “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”. Note the document doesn’t start with, “We, the people” or “We, the people of the planet Earth” or “We, the people of the universe”; it reads “We, the People of the United States”, and it ends with “establish this Constitution for the United States of America”. You may wish the Constitution to apply universally, but the founders clearly intended for it to apply to the United States of America.
    When Jefferson wrote that all are endowed with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, did he really mean to say only Americans are endowed with these rights?
    Many from your side would argue that he intended these rights only for white, male residents of the USA.
    the US was the primary author and signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Among other provisions, the UNDHR says:
    The UNDHR is one of those things that makes liberals feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but in real life is completely unworkable. That really could describe most things liberals believe in; maybe I should trademark it.

  • Russ

    The GC does cover al Queda.
    “The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) — the organization that pioneered the concept of international humanitarian law and has monitored compliance with the Geneva Conventions for more than 140 years — has argued that the so-called “unlawful enemy combatants” currently detained at Guantánamo Bay are entitled to protections under GCIV. Its 2003 legal analysis titled “The legal situation of ‘unlawful/unprivileged combatants” concluded that “unlawful combatants” are entitled to “the right to ‘humane treatment’ as defined in Articles 27 and 37 [of GCIV], and thus the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment; as well as the fair trial rights contained in Articles 71-76 [of GCIV].”
    But my point is 1. Torture is anti-christian 2. useless 3. hurts our country more in the long run.
    Could you see a Japan or Germany being successfully transformed into democracies if their people had been tortured by the US?

  • smmtheory

    The GC does cover al Queda.

    The day I count on the Red Cross to defend our nation is the day you might as well pull all my teeth without anesthetic, cut off my lips and force me to drink lye.

    Not one ounce of bending the rules will gain any useful info.

    There’s been no proof yet that our interrogation methods bend the rules. What is being bent though, is the definition of torture, and it is being bent for the express purpose of making the President of the USA look bad.

    A No, General strung some Reb up by his thumbs and left him till morning whereupon they found him insane and useless.

    That is an utterly ridiculous and unbelievable story. I find it offensive that you would believe people are that gullible.

    I will, however, argue that by denying basic human rights to these detainees, Bush is violating the spirit of our Constitution.

    And this is a favorable comparison to how the prisoners at Guantanamo would deprive our citizens of their basic human rights? You’ll have to make a better argument than that to prove your point. Defending this nation against fiendishly murderous villians is not violating the spirit of our Constitution.

  • Russ

    In the only known instance of torture of a prisoner of war to occure in the Civil War, Col. George H. Sharpe, the head of the Union’s Bureau of Military Information, ordered a Confederate prisoner hanged by his thumbs over night. When the unfortunate fellow was cut down the next morning he was quite insane and of no use from an intelligence gathering standpoint. Col Sharpe, regretting his error in judgement, never again used torture to interrogate a prisoner.
    On the other hand, the humane methods of interrogation usually employed by Sharpe and his operatives produced such good results that by war’s end the disposition, morale and numbers of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was known in better detail by Gen. U.S. Grant and his staff then even Gen. Robert E. Lee.

  • Rob Ryan

    People who write this (from the Casualty Call thread):
    “This is a little bit confusing. I had heard that the number of deaths occurring during our involvement in Iraq was no higher than that which usually occurs during peace time (ostensibly due to the more relaxed and less vigilant attitudes during peace time resulting in more accidental deaths).”
    …have no room to write this:
    “I find it offensive that you would believe people are that gullible.”
    If you beleive our annual peacetime loss of soldiers even approaches the annual loss in our ill-founded Iraq project, you should have no trouble believing one account of torture during the Civil War.
    I am sickened by the hypocrisy of Christians who support this war to the point of excusing mistreatment of prisoners.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    S&Mtheory, ohhh wait, sorry, smmtheory writes:
    The trouble is, your definition of torture is designed to prevent any progress being made during interrogation of terrorists. Why is that, by the way? Are you overly fond of people that would slit your throat as soon as look at you, or is it just because there’s a fellow in the White House that is not a Democrat?
    In other words the ends justify the means. If you, say, oppose embryonic stem cell research to cure cancer it must be because you’re fond of people suffering from cancer. It’s amazing here how when you change the context just a little lots of so-called evangelicals on this list will happily dispense with their ethics to follow this administration. Keep in mind, those who approach this from such a selfish POV, your chances of suffering a slow death by cancer are much greater than having your throead slashed by a terrorist.
    giving a kid a time-out (making the child stand with their nose in the corner) would be considered torture, as would any other behavior modification technique (such as Basic Training in the military).
    Strange, could you show us a single case where ‘time outs’ or basic training were cited as torture under the old definitions before the Bush/Gonz. regime made their ‘innovations’?
    For example, during WW2 we firebombed entire cites and used nuclear weapons. I doubt you would approve of those tactics in Iraq or Afghanistan.
    Leave aside the fact that AFghanistan doesn’t have any real cities to firebomb and Iraq barely has them. This is an example of attempting to distract the issue. Certainly the firebombing done during WWII were not done in place of torture but as a tactic to destroy the enemies industrial bases. As far as Iraq and Afghanistan goes there are no industrial bases controlled by the enemy so why bring firebombing into the mix? There are many who criticized the firebombing of WWII both then and today. There are good arguments to be made against firebombing as you cannot even make a show that you are trying to avoid civilian casualities.
    If an enemy soldier was caught out of uniform, behind the lines it was customary to shoot him out of hand.
    Perhaps but if an enemy soldier was captured out of uniform without being shot there certainly is no entitlement to torture him and even executing him has to be done by military law.
    ucfengr
    Captured German soldiers were accorded the rights under the Geneva Conventions because Germany was a signatory and for the most part accorded US prisoner those rights. If Germany had stopped according US prisoners those rights, we would have been under no obligation to accord captured German prisoners the rights.
    Really? Care to cite the section of the Geneva Conventions that state should an enemy violate them it then becomes ok for you to violate them? This seems to be very short sighted to me. Just a perfect set up for a race to the bottom.
    Smm again
    The day I count on the Red Cross to defend our nation is the day you might as well pull all my teeth without anesthetic, cut off my lips and force me to drink lye.
    Yea they’re the real enemy!

  • http://wondersforoyarsa.blogspot.com Wonders for Oyarsa

    Note the document doesn’t start with, “We, the people” or “We, the people of the planet Earth” or “We, the people of the universe”; it reads “We, the People of the United States”, and it ends with “establish this Constitution for the United States of America”. You may wish the Constitution to apply universally, but the founders clearly intended for it to apply to the United States of America.
    The constitution may only apply to the citizens of our country, but the principles behind it were meant to be universal. I salute Joe for his principled stand on this issue – and its embarrassing that more people on our side of the fence don’t do the same.

  • ucfengr

    Really? Care to cite the section of the Geneva Conventions that state should an enemy violate them it then becomes ok for you to violate them? This seems to be very short sighted to me. Just a perfect set up for a race to the bottom.
    I can’t point to a specific paragraph, but a treaty is an agreement between parties to do a certain thing. If one party violates the treaty the other party is not obligated to continue to support it. For example, if you and I enter a treaty to not punch each other in the face, and you begin punching me in the face, you surely wouldn’t argue that I am bound to uphold my end of the treaty. This is the reason the GC works; my promise to treat your soldiers well is based on the assurance that you will do the same. If I were to say that no matter what you do to our soldiers, I am going to scrupulously adhere to the conventions in my treatment of your soldiers, how have I incentivized you to treat my soldiers well? That’s also why it is foolish to treat Al Queda “soldiers” as if they were POW’s under the Geneva Conventions. Al Queda is not a signatory and has shown no indication that it would treat our soldiers with any respect at all, let alone the provisions of the GC.

  • ucfengr

    The constitution may only apply to the citizens of our country, but the principles behind it were meant to be universal. I salute Joe for his principled stand on this issue – and its embarrassing that more people on our side of the fence don’t do the same.
    In a perfect world, they would be, but this isn’t a perfect world, it’s the real world. In the “real world” we are dealing with people who want to kill millions of our citizens and subjugate the rest, and are only prevented because they lack the means, not desire. To argue that these people should be treated like common criminals is foolish.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I can’t point to a specific paragraph, but a treaty is an agreement between parties to do a certain thing. If one party violates the treaty the other party is not obligated to continue to support it.
    Hmmm, show me where I asked you about a ‘Geneva Treaty’? I thought we were talking about the Geneva Convention?
    If I were to say that no matter what you do to our soldiers, I am going to scrupulously adhere to the conventions in my treatment of your soldiers, how have I incentivized you to treat my soldiers well? That’s also why it is foolish to treat Al Queda “soldiers” as if they were POW’s under the Geneva Conventions.
    First your argument is foolish. During any war there is going to be a lot of misinformation tossed out on both sides. There will quickly be accusations that one side violated the Convention which will be followed by calls on the home front to do the same.
    Second, Al Qaeda is not aquited POW status but they are nevertheless entitled to proper humanitarian treatment even though they do not accord the same to their enemy.

  • ucfengr

    Hmmm, show me where I asked you about a ‘Geneva Treaty’? I thought we were talking about the Geneva Convention?
    Err, the Geneva Conventions are treaties.
    First your argument is foolish. During any war there is going to be a lot of misinformation tossed out on both sides. There will quickly be accusations that one side violated the Convention which will be followed by calls on the home front to do the same.
    Well, the Red Cross is supposed to have access to the prisoners to verify treatment, but in reality it is your argument that is silly. Why would a country claim bad treatment of its prisoners to justify treating the prisoners they hold badly, knowing that the response would be bad treatment of their prisoners?
    Second, Al Qaeda is not aquited POW status but they are nevertheless entitled to proper humanitarian treatment even though they do not accord the same to their enemy.
    Well, the US never ratified that portion (Protocol II) of the Geneva Conventions, so in reality they are not legally entitled to any such treatment at all.

  • ucfengr

    Leave aside the fact that AFghanistan doesn’t have any real cities to firebomb and Iraq barely has them. This is an example of attempting to distract the issue.
    No, it’s an attempt to point out that comparing the War on Islamic fascism (or whatever the en vogue term is these days) to World War II, as Russ attempted to do, is a fool’s errand. The wars are completely different and the tactics and strategies that applied in one will not apply in the other and the combatants are as different. Germany abided by the Geneva Conventions with respect to other signatories (USSR was not a signatory so Germany felt no obligation to treat Soviet prisoners as if they were), Al Queda, etc. are not a signatories and show no intention of abiding by its terms, hence we are under no legal obligation to treat them as if they were.

  • http://TheEverWiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Why would a country claim bad treatment of its prisoners to justify treating the prisoners they hold badly, knowing that the response would be bad treatment of their prisoners?
    That is the essence of your argument ucfengr. Perhaps this is why you have yet to be given a nation to run.
    Well, the US never ratified that portion (Protocol II) of the Geneva Conventions, so in reality they are not legally entitled to any such treatment at all.
    This would be an interesting place to bring in the question of natural law versus de jour law. They would be entitled to humane treatment because they are human beings. Ratifing protocol II would have no bearing on that.
    No, it’s an attempt to point out that comparing the War on Islamic fascism (or whatever the en vogue term is these days) to World War II, as Russ attempted to do, is a fool’s errand.
    Actually Russ responded to you bringing up firebombing in post #6. Yes all wars have differences but then our military academies would have little material if they refused to teach anything that happened in the past, wouldn’t they?

  • smmtheory

    Strange, could you show us a single case where ‘time outs’ or basic training were cited as torture under the old definitions

    EXACTLY Boobton! Thank you for making my point! Nowhere before the referenced document were ‘time outs’ or basic training techniques considered torture, but when they are applied to the prisoners at Guantanamo? Suddenly, they’re considered TORTURE!

    If you, say, oppose embryonic stem cell research to cure cancer it must be because you’re fond of people suffering from cancer.

    In the first place, nowhere did I say I condone torture, but my definition of torture is miles different from yours. And yet it appears you are saying it is okay to slaughter thousands of fetuses for embryonic stem cells on the slight possibility that it might help cure one in a hundred persons of cancer.

    Yea they’re the real enemy!

    Show me where I said the Red Cross was the enemy. I just said I wouldn’t trust them to defend this nation (and that’s without even broaching the subject of how Hamas used their ambulances to ferry munitions around to attack Israel with). If you would, that’s your loss.

    If you beleive our annual peacetime loss of soldiers even approaches the annual loss in our ill-founded Iraq project, you should have no trouble believing one account of torture during the Civil War.
    I am sickened by the hypocrisy of Christians who support this war to the point of excusing mistreatment of prisoners.

    No, it was a thought, not a belief, learn the difference. But since you are going to be so snotty about my attempt at open discussion, I’m going to go look now. Maybe I will reply to you on the other thread, but warn me before you puke, I don’t want any on me.

  • Ludwig

    “Al Queda, etc. are not a signatories and show no intention of abiding by its terms, hence we are under no legal obligation to treat them as if they were. ”
    I d be interested to know how many here are in the possession of evidence that each and every person that was subjected to torture by the US governement ever since the so called “war on terror” was A: a member or Al Quada, or B: a terrorist or C: and unlawfull combatant? There are still an estimated 500 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay…does anyone here know the idendity and evidence againsts these prisoners?….any of them? Is anyone here even interested to know how many innocent people may have been tortured to give intelligence they dont have anyway? I think that the biggest problem with places like Gitmo is that we dont none of us really know whats going on there.

  • ucfengr

    That is the essence of your argument ucfengr.
    Well, no, Boonton, it is the essence of your argument. The essence of my argument on the GC is that it works because you have independent verification of prisoner treatment through the International Red Cross and that I am incentivized to treat the prisoners I hold properly to ensure that you treat the prisoners of mine that you hold properly.
    Perhaps this is why you have yet to be given a nation to run.
    Well in the “real world” people aren’t “given” nations to run. They are either elected or seize power, generally speaking.
    This would be an interesting place to bring in the question of natural law versus de jour law. They would be entitled to humane treatment because they are human beings.
    Something on this in a follow up post.

  • ucfengr

    I d be interested to know how many here are in the possession of evidence that each and every person that was subjected to torture by the US governement ever since the so called “war on terror” was A: a member or Al Quada, or B: a terrorist or C: and unlawfull combatant?
    My working assumption is that the US military doesn’t have the extra resources to house and interrogate a bunch of Pashtun goatherds, so they probably do a pretty good thorough job of separating the wheat (terrorists) from the chaff (non-terrorists) early on. I do find it amusing that the only standard you would accept from the US is absolute perfection. I can’t imagine you would hold the UN or any other organization you favor to that standard.
    This would be an interesting place to bring in the question of natural law versus de jour law. They would be entitled to humane treatment because they are human beings. Ratifing protocol II would have no bearing on that.
    I don’t think folks like Kalid Sheik Mohammad or Osama Bin Laden are entitled to anything of the sort. We may give it to them because we are we are compassionate or as an incentive to cooperate, but they certainly don’t deserve it. Of course that does beg the question, what is humane treatment? By all accounts, the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are given 3+ meals a day that comport with Muslim dietary restrictions, given time to conduct religious observations, and are housed in relatively comfortable quarters. How much more humane are we obligated to be? I didn’t see many on the left demanding that type of treatment for Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, or “Scooter” Libby, indeed I seem to remember many longing for reports of their first prison rape. Granted, the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are subject to interrogation under stressful conditions, at least initially. That interrogation may include things like “stress positions”, extremes of hot and cold, sleep deprivation, and “water boarding”. Now with the exception of “water boarding”, I have been subject to all those techniques, but when I underwent it, it wasn’t called torture, it was called “Basic Training”, and while I didn’t get “waterboarded”, I was subject to a chemical gas attack so that’s probably a wash. So forgive me if I don’t get all weepy about the treatment of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

  • CDR Don Bosch, USN

    “The GC does cover al Queda.”
    That’s been the subject of much debate here at the Naval War College. Since only nation-states can ratify treaties, and since the Geneva Conventions are treaties, it’s impossible for al Queda, not being a nation-state, to either agree to the Geneva Accords or have them formally applied as a conventional agreement in international humanitarian law.
    Geneva Conventions could perhaps be applied to al Queda if they met the following conditions of Article 4*:
    (2) Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:
    (a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
    (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
    (c) that of carrying arms openly;
    (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
    Difficult to make the case that al Queda members are meeting any, let alone all, of these requirements to be guaranteed POW status, but signatories to the Geneva Accords can always adopt the general humanitarian guidelines under Article 9, etc. This would include holding such persons in the sorts of conditions the GITMO detainees enjoy today.
    On torture vs detainment, I can only say from personal experience in a POW “training” environment that as awful as detainment by a hostile government is/would be, it has little to do with torture which is generally viewed as coersion to extract tactical, operational or strategic information vital to the conduct of warfare, or to goad detainees into providing statements useful for propaganda purposes. It is certainly possible to detain al Queda and other terrorists without subjecting them to torture (which, in the opinion of many, is of relatively little value in terms of intelligence collection).
    If you haven’t had a chance to read the Geneva Convention, I’ve pasted a link immediately below.

    *http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/375?OpenDocument

  • ucfengr

    it has little to do with torture which is generally viewed as coersion to extract tactical, operational or strategic information vital to the conduct of warfare, or to goad detainees into providing statements useful for propaganda purposes.
    Don, isn’t it possible to apply coersion short of “torture” to extract information, etc.? I personally don’t think of sleep deprivation, extremes of hot and cold, and short periods of stress positions as torture, nor do I think it is the position of the US Navy or other armed forces. “Waterboarding” may skirt the line of what is and what isn’t torture, but I am not certain that even that meets the official definition of torture. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Ludwig

    “My working assumption is that the US military doesn’t have the extra resources to house and interrogate a bunch of Pashtun goatherds, so they probably do a pretty good thorough job of separating the wheat (terrorists) from the chaff (non-terrorists) early on. I do find it amusing that the only standard you would accept from the US is absolute perfection. I can’t imagine you would hold the UN or any other organization you favor to that standard.”
    your working assumption is demonstrably false…the US army has ample ressoures available to it to hold at least 100 times the number of prisoners in Gitmo INDEFINATELY…and my standard is not perfection but at the very least COMPETENCE…which,as demonstrated by the testamonies of the Tipton three as well as several others i ve seen,is grossly inexistant in the army’s “chaff separation” process. But my point,which obviously escaped you completely,is that neither of us knows exactly whats going on in there,nor are we allowed to find out…which is obviously an unacceptable proposition in itself.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    That interrogation may include things like “stress positions”, extremes of hot and cold, sleep deprivation, and “water boarding”. Now with the exception of “water boarding”, I have been subject to all those techniques, but when I underwent it, it wasn’t called torture, it was called “Basic Training”, and while I didn’t get “waterboarded”, I was subject to a chemical gas attack so that’s probably a wash.
    There is a big difference here between ‘Basic Training’ and torture. Take being subject to a chemical gas attack both as a basic training exercise and as an act of torture by a hypothetical military force holding you prisoner. As a training exercise those in charge of the attack are essentially on your side. They have a duty to prepare you for it and to structure the exercise so it can be stopped should something go wrong and it becomes a threat to you. While you may feel stress the purpose of the exercise is not to imobilize you with fear or break down your ability to think and reason. It’s purpose is to teach you how to deal with an enemy gas attack. Ditto for the other examples you cited such as stress positions, extremes, even waterboarding.
    While it may feel unpleasent the fact it is not used to ‘break you’ but to build you.
    If used as torture though, the design of the ‘exercise’ has to be changed dramatically. Since the purpose is to invoke stress and fear in the person being interrogated the illusion must be created that the interrogator intends to escallate the torture until death (or some other psychological breaking point such as making the prisoner believe the treatment will never end). That, of course, is ‘professional torture’ where the goal is to obtain some type of useful information from you. There is also sadistic torture where there is no real goal other than to inflict pain and suffering on someone the torturer hates for whatever reason.
    Now I have no idea if torture is/was used at Gitmo. My concern there is more with the idea that the Executive is basically declaring that it can grab people and hold them there forever. (Unlike WWII or Korea there is no defined endpoint here. Barring mass genocide and incineration of the Middle East and elsewhere there is no way one can ever say we are perfectly free of Islamic based terrorism).
    We already know that ucfengr’s faith in this administration is deeply misplaced. For example, not too long ago this administration turned on a dime and started releasing hundreds from Cuba that it had described only months before as the ‘worst of the worst’. We have also had numerous ancedotal reports of Afghan tribes and bounty hunters simply turning over others they have captured with stories that they are either Taliban or Al Qaeda warriors only for it to turn out that they were victims of local battles or vendettas.

  • ucfengr

    your working assumption is demonstrably false…the US army has ample ressoures available to it to hold at least 100 times the number of prisoners in Gitmo INDEFINATELY
    Really, the Marine Corps (Gitmo is a Marine base) has the resources to hold and properly interrogate 50,000+ people indefinitely? Forgive me for thinking that you are completely clueless regarding this matter.
    I think this whole line of comments highlights a disturbing trend among the left to prefer to defend terrorists and terrorist supporters over the US. There is scant evidence that the US is “torturing” Al Queda members, but the left reflexively believes it is, based on what appears to be mostly Al Queda testimony. The situation with Iran is another good example. In Iran we have a brutally oppressive theocracy that is supplying, training and financing terror groups that are killing our troops and trying to overthrow a budding democracy in Iraq, that is building nuclear weapons, which they threaten to use on the their neighbors, and that recently kidnapped 15 British sailors and Marines, only the most recent example of Iran’s use of kidnapping as a foreign policy tool. Now, what is the left’s biggest concern; that George Bush will do something to start a war.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    Really ucfengr,
    Really, the Marine Corps (Gitmo is a Marine base) has the resources to hold and properly interrogate 50,000+ people indefinitely? Forgive me for thinking that you are completely clueless regarding this matter.
    Gitmo has about 500 people detained in it related to the war on terror. You argued that these people must all be guilty or close to guilty since the US military doesn’t have the resources not first “separating the wheat (terrorists) from the chaff (non-terrorists) early on”. Well quite frankly the military has plenty of resources to hold 500 people who have not been shifted.
    As usual, you propose absurd hypotheticals to buttress your position. No I fully concede that Gitmo probably cannot support 50,000+ people (seperated or not). I’ll also concede that the military probably doesn’t have the resources to hold, say, 50 million people either all confined at Gitmo or scattered around the world.
    On the other hand, I think you should concede that yes the US military does have the resources to hold 600 people indefinitely even if they haven’t been ‘shifted’.

  • CDR Don Bosch, USN

    29/31, good thoughts.
    “Don, isn’t it possible to apply coersion short of ‘torture’ to extract information, etc.? I personally don’t think of sleep deprivation, extremes of hot and cold, and short periods of stress positions as torture…”
    Light answer: There are plenty of college students (and Marine boot campers, right JC?) who have willingly put themselves in those sorts of extreme situations. Many in the PC crowd would call this “torture” but I doubt many frat brothers or Devil Dogs would call it that.
    Serious answer: That’s why the Code of Conduct is so important. These principles keep US POWs organized and focused on good order and discipline under duress. Is getting shot at by bad guys any more or less stressful than being held captive by them? Won’t speak for all, but most would say both are risks inherent in combat ops.
    “While it may feel unpleasent the fact it is not used to ‘break you’ but to build you.”
    I s’pose, but the parts that “built me” the most were the times I was so into the scenario that I forgot it was “good guys” making me miserable.
    I think you’ll appreciate this interesting article by Admiral James Stockdale, POW, Medal of Honor recipient, and former NWC President on his experiences as a POW. Insightful!
    Cheers,
    db
    http://www.nwc.navy.mil/press/Review/1998/winter/art9-w98.htm

  • Ludwig

    “Really, the Marine Corps (Gitmo is a Marine base) has the resources to hold and properly interrogate 50,000+ people indefinitely? Forgive me for thinking that you are completely clueless regarding this matter.”
    How many peeple are currently held in US prison system
    ?…i ll bet you thats a lot more than 50 thousands…they dont all have to be held at Gitmo btw…now i m not saying that there are going to be 50 thousands prisoners related to the so called war on terror but thats not for lack of ressources so your working assuption…does not work at all.
    “I think this whole line of comments highlights a disturbing trend among the left to prefer to defend terrorists and terrorist supporters over the US. There is scant evidence that the US is “torturing” Al Queda members, but the left reflexively believes it is, based on what appears to be mostly Al Queda testimony.”
    Excuse me?….the Tipton three are members of Alquada now? well they must be…their skin is brown and they pray to Allah,right? isent that what you re saying?

  • ucfengr

    Actually Boonton, it was Ludwig who claimed that Gitmo could easily house and interrogate 100 times the number of prisoners it holds now.
    From post 30: “the US army has ample ressoures available to it to hold at least 100 times the number of prisoners in Gitmo INDEFINATELY…
    I merely did the math to show what 100 x 500 equates to.
    While it may feel unpleasent the fact it is not used to ‘break you’ but to build you.
    Actually, the purpose is the same whether it is for a basic trainee or a terrorist prisoner; it is to get you accustomed to your new circumstances. For the terrorist, it is to show him that while he may have been an Al Queda kingpin, now he is a prisoner who survives or thrives at the sufferance of the US government. For the soldier it is to show him that whatever he was in real life, now he is a soldier and what mattered in the civilian world doesn’t matter in the military world.

  • ucfengr

    How many peeple are currently held in US prison system?
    The limiting factor is not our ability to warehouse prisoners, it is the number of people that are capable of extracting useful intelligence from terrorists. That number is very small and the time that must be devoted to each terrorist is very large. What do you think, intelligence gathering works like a Las Vegas wedding chapel? You are really not giving me any reason to think you less clueless regarding this matter.
    Regarding the “Tipton Three”, here are some of their claims:
    * They were repeatedly punched, kicked, slapped, forcibly injected with drugs, deprived of sleep, hooded, photographed naked and subjected to body cavity searches and sexual and religious humiliations.
    * The American guard told the inmates: “The world does not know you’re here – we would kill you and no-one would know”.
    * Mr Iqbal said when he arrived at Guantanamo, one of the soldiers told him: “You killed my family in the towers and now it’s time to get you back”.
    * Mr Rasul said an MI5 officer had told him during an interrogation that he would be detained in Guantanamo for life.
    * The men said they saw the beating of mentally-ill inmates.
    * Another man was left brain damaged after a beating by soldiers as punishment for attempting suicide.
    * The Britons said an inmate told them he was shown a video of hooded men – apparently inmates – being forced to sodomise one another.
    * Guards threw prisoners’ Korans into toilets and tried to force them to give up their religion
    (source–Wiki)
    Quite frankly it doesn’t sound all that credible and it is hard to imagine them say anything different if they were members of Al Queda.

  • Ludwig

    “* They were repeatedly punched, kicked, slapped, forcibly injected with drugs, deprived of sleep, hooded, photographed naked and subjected to body cavity searches and sexual and religious humiliations.”
    You mean like the treatement that was PHOTOGRAPHED at Abu Graib? whats unbelievable about that?
    “* The American guard told the inmates: “The world does not know you’re here – we would kill you and no-one would know”.”
    you mean that the american guards who were told that these were all proven terrorist murderers would not feel compelled to say things like that?
    “* Mr Iqbal said when he arrived at Guantanamo, one of the soldiers told him: “You killed my family in the towers and now it’s time to get you back”.”
    So the soldiers are physicaly or psychologicaly INCAPABLE of saying that? Do you have any idea how many soldiers have been told by their commanding officiers bith in Afghanistan and in Iraq that ever single “Arab” they encounter is a likely suspect in the crime of 911?
    “* Mr Rasul said an MI5 officer had told him during an interrogation that he would be detained in Guantanamo for life.”
    Police interrogating suspect routinely threaten them with extensive prison time or even a room on death row to get them to cooperate…why should we believe it impossible for US army interrogators to do the same with arabs we re all supposed to hate anyway?
    “* The men said they saw the beating of mentally-ill inmates.”
    They spoke of witnessing the beating of one mentally ill inmate who was yelling insults at the guards…exactly what conditions at Gitmo would have made that an impossible or even improbable event? Again,Abu Graib is a good exemple of how Arab prisoners are treated by the US military.
    “* Another man was left brain damaged after a beating by soldiers as punishment for attempting suicide.”
    Since we ve established that its neither impossible nor improbable that inmates were being physically abused,how many hits on the heat do you think it takes to cause brain damage?
    “* The Britons said an inmate told them he was shown a video of hooded men – apparently inmates – being forced to sodomise one another.”
    Abu Graib….
    “* Guards threw prisoners’ Korans into toilets and tried to force them to give up their religion”
    Actually in their testamony they said they saw a guard who was searching one of the outside cells kicking a Koran in a makeshift toilet (essentially a plastic container) which had been knocked over and it was obvious he did it on purpose because he was smiling to the other prisoners as he did it. Obviously there was no flushing,since it was not a real toilet but rather a latrine….the Media were the ones who added the flushing part to the story. You cant your christian Hiny that if someone did that to your bable you d be pissed too.
    “Quite frankly it doesn’t sound all that credible and it is hard to imagine them say anything different if they were members of Al Queda.”
    In other words,if they complain about the terrible treatement that was inflicted on them while in custody of the US army,treatement which was completely and utterly undeserved to begin with,they are Al Quada spokesmen? These 3 boys have not been able to get a job ever since they were released…they have been routinely insulted,spat on and threatened by other inhabitants of Tipton because of the perception whihc has been carefully orchestrated and vehiculed in the media by the US administration and its cronies that if you ve been to Gitmo,its because you were a PROVEN TERRORIST MURDERER.

  • smmtheory

    I d be interested to know how many here are in the possession of evidence that each and every person that was subjected to torture by the US governement ever since the so called “war on terror” was A: a member or Al Quada, or B: a terrorist or C: and unlawfull combatant?

    I don’t accept your premise that the US government has subjected anybody to torture during the War on Terror, so your question is moot.
    I mean I can understand that you can’t imagine your heroes cracking under anything less than torture, so you must have an overwhelming need to convince yourself (and apparently everybody else you talk to) that the detainees at Guantanamo have been subjected to torture.

  • Ludwig

    “I don’t accept your premise that the US government has subjected anybody to torture during the War on Terror, so your question is moot.”
    I once tried one of the many stress position that the Tipton Three described they were subjected to,namely being handcuffted to hook in the floor in a croutching position…the pain in my knees and lower back was more than i could endure after 5 minutes…and they were kept like that for HOURS…if someone did that to you,there would be no doubt in your mind that its torture.
    “I mean I can understand that you can’t imagine your heroes cracking under anything less than torture, so you must have an overwhelming need to convince yourself (and apparently everybody else you talk to) that the detainees at Guantanamo have been subjected to torture. ”
    Well, i do consider the Tipton Three asa source of inspiration…they were innocent of any and all crimes yet they endured 29 month of inhuman treatment at Gitmo. They were often given the possibility to implicate each other in false accusations of terrorist activities as a condition for ending their mistreatement but they steadfastly refused to betray one another by giving false testamony just to obtaina temporary reprieve from the pain…i would certainly hope my friends would do that for me and i for them.

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I don’t accept your premise that the US government has subjected anybody to torture during the War on Terror, so your question is moot.
    How typical. Why there has been no torture because S&Mtheory declares there has been no torture. What an easy job he has, he doesn’t even have to bother researching his arguments.
    I mean I can understand that you can’t imagine your heroes cracking under anything less than torture, …
    Ahh the old ‘you must love terrorists’ routine. One wonders why S&MTheory just doesn’t come out and say torture is great and we should do more of it.

  • JohnW

    Ok, everybody, the question is moot. George W. Bush says we don’t torture. Good Enough, right? Afterall, He wouldn’t lie.
    Anybody that says otherwise is a godless liberal….

  • smmtheory

    What an easy job he has, he doesn’t even have to bother researching his arguments.

    So Boobton, what concept is it exactly that you guys have trouble grasping?
    A) Terrorists are not Freedom Fighters,
    B) Terrorists would allow themselves to be captured alive,
    C) U.S. armed forces could have actually captured 500 or more terrorists,
    D) U.S. armed forces are not all common criminals,
    E) Members of the U.S. armed forces are actually intelligent enough to realize the natives might occasionally try to dupe them,
    F) The “Tipton Trio” might have been in Afghanistan to associate with terrorists,
    G) The “Tipton Trio” might be lying,
    H) The “Tipton Trio” might have been caught firing on U.S. troops or in near proximity to somebody firing on U.S. troops,
    I) Terrorists might lie,
    J) Terrorists are carrying on a war against the U.S.,
    or
    K) all of the above?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    So Boobton, what concept is it exactly that you guys have trouble grasping?
    How exactly you can make statements of fact whose only basis is declarations by yourself while everyone else here actually makes at least a modest effort to back up their assertions with something other than their a**.
    My working theories are that you:
    a. Could possibly be as stupid as you seem.
    b. Simply have total contempt for anyone who disagrees with you.
    c. A combination of a & b.

  • Ludwig

    “A) Terrorists are not Freedom Fighters,”
    Indeed but how do you decide which is which? For instance the Maquis resistance fighters in France often killed french civilians they knew to be associated or sympatizers of the Nazis even though these individuals themselves did nothing to anyone…i dont think that the distinction between the 2 is quite as clear cut as you try to make it sound.
    “B) Terrorists would allow themselves to be captured alive,”
    Indeed they often do…but then again,innocent people also routinely let themselves be captured alive.
    “C) U.S. armed forces could have actually captured 500 or more terrorists,”
    “D) U.S. armed forces are not all common criminals,”
    Yes but some are
    “E) Members of the U.S. armed forces are actually intelligent enough to realize the natives might occasionally try to dupe them,”
    Not sure where you re going with that?
    “F) The “Tipton Trio” might have been in Afghanistan to associate with terrorists,”
    They werent…they were in Pakistan for one of them to get married and made an impromptu road trip to Afghanistan
    “G) The “Tipton Trio” might be lying,”
    Given that they were never charged with anything,that no evidence of their alledged misdeeds was ever presented and that some of them still bear the physical traces of their mistreatement,i think its safe to say they are probably telling the truth.
    “H) The “Tipton Trio” might have been caught firing on U.S. troops or in near proximity to somebody firing on U.S. troops,”
    They weren’t…they were captured by the northern alliance while they were trying to return to Pakistan when the war started and none of them was armed.
    “I) Terrorists might lie,”
    So might soldiers,prison guards,commanders or politicians…or anyone with a vested interest in keeping the truth secret.
    “J) Terrorists are carrying on a war against the U.S.,”
    no they are not its the other way around. Terrorists are not attempting to invade the US and its not because the troops are in Iraq…they dont have to go through the port of Bazra to come over here. If they were truly intent on waging a war against the US,they would have their people enter the country either legaly or illegaly and commit regular terrorist acts inside the US…then you could say that terrorists are in a state of War with the US.

  • JohnW

    Where the Contras in Nicaraqua Freedoms Fighters or Terrorists? Depend on who you ask…

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    S&MTheory wants to assert, it seems that US forces are flawless in their execution of the war on terror. Yet he would have it both ways. If this trio were really terrorists or supporters of terrorists then why were they released? If Gitmo features nothing but honest and true terrorists and bad guys then there should never have been any serious releases from there since they are, after all, threats to America…right?
    I’d like to engage ucfengr for a moment. Would you say there is any possible thing the US could do to a captured terrorist that wouldn’t be a crime? How about if they fed them alive to killer dogs? What if they boiled them in acid? How about removing their organs and selling them on the market? Are you sure they are exempt from any and every humanitarian convention?

  • smmtheory

    How exactly you can make statements of fact whose only basis is declarations by yourself while everyone else here actually makes at least a modest effort to back up their assertions with something other than their a**.

    Why should I believe any differently of you?

    My working theories are that you:
    a. Could possibly be as stupid as you seem.
    b. Simply have total contempt for anyone who disagrees with you.
    c. A combination of a & b.

    You looked in a mirror to come up with this list didn’t you?

  • smmtheory

    If they were truly intent on waging a war against the US,they would have their people enter the country either legaly or illegaly

    9/11/01… how soon we do forget. tsk, tsk.

    and commit regular terrorist acts inside the US…then you could say that terrorists are in a state of War with the US.

    9/11/01 was but the latest… how soon we do forget. tsk, tsk. By standards like these, you could as readily say that Japan was never at war with the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Or are you claiming that the government lied about that too?

  • smmtheory

    S&MTheory wants to assert, it seems that US forces are flawless in their execution of the war on terror. Yet he would have it both ways. If this trio were really terrorists or supporters of terrorists then why were they released? If Gitmo features nothing but honest and true terrorists and bad guys then there should never have been any serious releases from there since they are, after all, threats to America…right?

    Because I don’t accept your premise that the US forces can say or do nothing right, I have to believe the other extreme? That’s quite a jump don’t you think Loonyton? Sometimes a panel of jurists at a criminal trial acquit a guilty person after deliberation, does that mean the jails are filled with people who aren’t guilty of what they’ve been convicted for? Does it mean the person that they acquitted is not guilty of the crime they’ve committed, or just that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict them without a doubt?

  • Ludwig

    “Because I don’t accept your premise that the US forces can say or do nothing right, I have to believe the other extreme? That’s quite a jump don’t you think Loonyton? Sometimes a panel of jurists at a criminal trial acquit a guilty person after deliberation, does that mean the jails are filled with people who aren’t guilty of what they’ve been convicted for? Does it mean the person that they acquitted is not guilty of the crime they’ve committed, or just that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict them without a doubt?”
    Which brings us all the way back to my original point….we dont know whats going on at gitmo or in any of the secret detention facilities run by the US army in this so called war on terror…there is a black cloak of secrecy covering these installations and this situation is completely unacceptable is a society where freedom depends to a very large entent on absolute governemental transparency and accountability…i want this ominous cloak of secrecy to be lifted immediately because i know this sort of practice to be 1000 times more dangerous to our country than any and all terrorists plots combined.

  • smmtheory

    Which brings us all the way back to my original point….we dont know whats going on at gitmo or in any of the secret detention facilities run by the US army in this so called war on terror…there is a black cloak of secrecy covering these installations and this situation is completely unacceptable is a society where freedom depends to a very large entent on absolute governemental transparency and accountability…i want this ominous cloak of secrecy to be lifted immediately because i know this sort of practice to be 1000 times more dangerous to our country than any and all terrorists plots combined.

    Admit it Ludwig, if you really and truly believed all this was happening you would be too afraid of disappearing into the system for making these sorts of accusations in public where your identity could be traced. Independent investigation of Guantanamo completed and reported on by the AP circa July 13, 2005. Of thousands of interrogations conducted, only three were found to have violated Army regulations and Geneva Convention but were determined not to be torture. Afghanistani investigative team (ostensibly composed of Muslims mostly and allowed to interview detainees) circa June 14, 2006 declared Guantanamo detentions humane.

  • ucfengr

    Re: Terrorists vs. Freedom Fighters
    Shouldn’t the minimum qualification for being considered a “freedom fighter” be someone who fights for freedom; as in trying to overthrow a brutal, repressive regime rather than trying to install one? In Iraq, you have an foreign supported insurgency trying to overthrow a nascent democracy and replace it with either a brutal dictatorship or a brutal theocracy. How does this group in any way qualify as “freedom fighters”?
    JohnW–I didn’t think it possible, but your posts have become even less substantive than when you first started posting. You’ve become like a “Magic 8-Ball” of anti-Americanism and Bush hatred.
    Which brings us all the way back to my original point….we dont know whats going on at gitmo or in any of the secret detention facilities run by the US army in this so called war on terror…there is a black cloak of secrecy covering these installations and this situation is completely unacceptable is a society where freedom depends to a very large entent on absolute governemental transparency and accountability.
    Ludwig, in the interest of “absolute governmental transparency and accountability” should the US have published the Normandy invasion plans in the New York Times on June 1, 1944? Should we release the specifications, capabilities, and locations of our nuclear forces? Should the military broadcast all their transmissions “in the clear” as opposed to using secure channels? Should the security protocols for the White House or Air Force 1 be available at a public library?
    I’d like to engage ucfengr for a moment. Would you say there is any possible thing the US could do to a captured terrorist that wouldn’t be a crime?
    Boonton, I don’t think captured terrorists have any rights. I think that we as a civilized people ought to limit ourselves to what we are willing to do to terrorists, but not out of concern for any rights terrorists may have. Now, allow me to engage you for a moment; should terrorists have more rights than unborn human children? What rights should we accord people who spend their days convincing young men to strap bombs to themselves and then explode them in markets or schools that we shouldn’t to an unborn human child?

  • Ludwig

    “Admit it Ludwig, if you really and truly believed all this was happening you would be too afraid of disappearing into the system for making these sorts of accusations in public where your identity could be traced. Independent investigation of Guantanamo completed and reported on by the AP circa July 13, 2005. Of thousands of interrogations conducted, only three were found to have violated Army regulations and Geneva Convention but were determined not to be torture. Afghanistani investigative team (ostensibly composed of Muslims mostly and allowed to interview detainees) circa June 14, 2006 declared Guantanamo detentions humane.”
    But i am concerned…otherwise i would not raise the issue. You cite 2 sources to bolster your support of Gitmo…i ve heard testamonies from at least 10 different sources all raising claims of inhuman treatements in Gitmo. And lets not forget that one of your source is the Afghani governement,which,like the current Iraq governement owes its existance to the Bush administration…doesn pay to bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Ludwig

    “Shouldn’t the minimum qualification for being considered a “freedom fighter” be someone who fights for freedom; as in trying to overthrow a brutal, repressive regime rather than trying to install one? ”
    You mean like the Sandinistas who were fighting to overthrow the murderous and corrupt Somosa Regime in Niccaragua? Or the Contras who fought to overthrow the Sandinistas? Now i have a good idea as to which one of those your prefer but its certainly not based on anything being different between their “cause” or their methods.
    “In Iraq, you have an foreign supported insurgency trying to overthrow a nascent democracy and replace it with either a brutal dictatorship or a brutal theocracy. How does this group in any way qualify as “freedom fighters”?”
    Thats a possibility indeed…another one is that they are fighting to keep Iraq from being turned into a client state of the US whos governement exists for the sole purpose of servicing American political and commercial interests like what happeend to Iraq and Iran in the 50′s.
    “Ludwig, in the interest of “absolute governmental transparency and accountability” should the US have published the Normandy invasion plans in the New York Times on June 1, 1944? Should we release the specifications, capabilities, and locations of our nuclear forces? Should the military broadcast all their transmissions “in the clear” as opposed to using secure channels? Should the security protocols for the White House or Air Force 1 be available at a public library? ”
    please open a dictionary and look for the word “STRAWMAN”…you ll probably find your picture right next to it.

  • ucfengr

    please open a dictionary and look for the word “STRAWMAN”…you ll probably find your picture right next to it.
    So Ludwig, you really don’t believe in “absolute governmental transparency and accountability”, you just believe that you should be the arbiter of what should be secret and what shouldn’t.
    Thats a possibility indeed…another one is that they are fighting to keep Iraq from being turned into a client state of the US
    Wow, at least you acknowledge the possibility that the US aren’t the bad guys, that maybe, just possibly it is the guys that detonate human bombs in marketplaces and schools. That must have been hard for you.

  • ucfengr

    You mean like the Sandinistas who were fighting to overthrow the murderous and corrupt Somosa Regime in Niccaragua?
    Fighting to replace one brutal dictatorship with another isn’t “freedom fighting”, it’s a mob war. You add Castro overthrowing Batista to that mix.

  • Ludwig

    “So Ludwig, you really don’t believe in “absolute governmental transparency and accountability”, you just believe that you should be the arbiter of what should be secret and what shouldn’t.”
    None of the exemples you gave relate to the transparancy and accountability of governement policies or practice in any way shape or form. To use just one of your exemples there is no need for the public to know the access codes to Air Force One but there is a public need to know just what it is exactly that the president uses Air Force One for,who he invites on board and for what reasons,as it is public property.
    “Wow, at least you acknowledge the possibility that the US aren’t the bad guys, that maybe, just possibly it is the guys that detonate human bombs in marketplaces and schools. That must have been hard for you.”
    not that hard no….no i wonder about your ability to admit to the very distint possibility that at least SOME of the people who affect policy in the US in past and present administrations may not have the purest of motives for their various decisions.
    “Fighting to replace one brutal dictatorship with another isn’t “freedom fighting”, it’s a mob war. You add Castro overthrowing Batista to that mix.”
    to a certain extent thats probably true…revolutions have a very poor track record and dont often produce immediate positive results…that being said,the Sandinistas were a slight improvement on Somosa and the Contras were funded by the reagan administration to restaure the Somosa regime…the original “our son of a biatch” flawed mentality as articulated by President Gerald Ford i think. As for Castro and Batista it did indeed go from one dictatorship to another…although it was Batista who started it by overthrowing 2 consecutive governements,the last of which was democraticaly elected so he was kind of asking for it.

  • ucfengr

    To use just one of your exemples there is no need for the public to know the access codes to Air Force One but there is a public need to know just what it is exactly that the president uses Air Force One for,who he invites on board and for what reasons,as it is public property
    No, you are wrong. I would explain why, but I am sure (I hope anyway) you are smart enough to figure out several reasons why the President might need to have a private audience on Air Force One or in the White House, or wherever.

  • smmtheory

    But i am concerned…otherwise i would not raise the issue. You cite 2 sources to bolster your support of Gitmo…i ve heard testamonies from at least 10 different sources all raising claims of inhuman treatements in Gitmo. And lets not forget that one of your source is the Afghani governement,which,like the current Iraq governement owes its existance to the Bush administration…doesn pay to bite the hand that feeds you.

    And you owe your existence to the U.S. Military, yet there you are chewing away… willing to believe anybody BUT the military (would it be fair to suggest you think of them as Bush’s butchers?) who you say has more to gain by lying that telling the truth as if there is nothing to be gained from lying about being tortured (like maybe a big fat payment from Usama).

  • Ludwig

    “No, you are wrong. I would explain why, but I am sure (I hope anyway) you are smart enough to figure out several reasons why the President might need to have a private audience on Air Force One or in the White House, or wherever. ”
    I can think of several reasons why a sitting President may wish to have a covert conversation with unknown parties and not all of them noble but suppose that the discussion in question involves a violation of his oath of office or an outright crime,how are we supposed to hold him to account if we dont know about it? The intent of the founding fathers was clear when they first established our form of governance by the people and for the people and it was not so that someday there would arise a form of shadow governement where the president gets to decide what the public should or shouldnt know without having to be accountable for the reasons behind his or her decisions. The president is not an elected king…he s a glorified public servant who has to answer for the considerable power we temporarely LEND him.

  • Ludwig

    “And you owe your existence to the U.S. Military, yet there you are chewing away… willing to believe anybody BUT the military (would it be fair to suggest you think of them as Bush’s butchers?) who you say has more to gain by lying that telling the truth as if there is nothing to be gained from lying about being tortured (like maybe a big fat payment from Usama).”
    I see…and so according to you,without being privy to the appropriate evidence i should just shut up and proceed under the assumption that brown skins who pray to Allah are all liars on Usama’s payroll becaus the Army does the job I pay them to do with my taxes…does that about sum it up?

  • ucfengr

    I see…and so according to you,without being privy to the appropriate evidence i should just shut up and proceed under the assumption that brown skins who pray to Allah are all liars on Usama’s payroll becaus the Army does the job I pay them to do with my taxes…does that about sum it up?
    Talk about a straw man, sheesh. You know what would be nice, though, if you were as willing to give the benefit of the doubt to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen as you were to the folks blowing them up.
    The intent of the founding fathers was clear when they first established our form of governance by the people and for the people and it was not so that someday there would arise a form of shadow governement where the president gets to decide what the public should or shouldnt know
    Actually, to a large extent, our form of government does allow the President to decide what the public needs to know and it always has. We don’t have a direct democracy, we elect representatives that we entrust with the authority to act in our best interests, and sometimes that involves acting without our knowledge, especially in areas of foreign relations and national defense. If we don’t like the decisions they make or lose trust in them, they may be held accountable at the next election or in extremely rare cases, through the impeachment process.

  • Ludwig

    “Actually, to a large extent, our form of government does allow the President to decide what the public needs to know and it always has. We don’t have a direct democracy, we elect representatives that we entrust with the authority to act in our best interests, and sometimes that involves acting without our knowledge, especially in areas of foreign relations and national defense. If we don’t like the decisions they make or lose trust in them, they may be held accountable at the next election or in extremely rare cases, through the impeachment process.”
    But thats where you are completely wrong….true,we are not a direct democracy where people are asked to vote on each and every decision but there is a world of difference between that and having a governement that makes decisions that we are not told about. Besides,if we dont know5 whats going on or exactly how the president is using the power we lend him,how the hell can we make a decision as to weather or not we should vote for him again or even allow him to stay till the end of his term…what you re saying is that we should have blind faith in our elected leaders and thats the stupidest thing i ve ever heard in my life.
    “Talk about a straw man, sheesh. You know what would be nice, though, if you were as willing to give the benefit of the doubt to our soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen as you were to the folks blowing them up.”
    wow…talk about a massive generalisation.

  • ucfengr

    But thats where you are completely wrong….true,we are not a direct democracy where people are asked to vote on each and every decision but there is a world of difference between that and having a governement that makes decisions that we are not told about.
    The reality of our government is that everyday, numerous important decisions are made that you are not, and probably never will be told about. It’s that way now and it always has been. Our government is more transparent than most, but it has never been nor was it ever designed to be “absolutely transparent”. You can complain about it until your fingertips bleed, but that won’t change the reality.

  • Owen

    It seems some people on this blog do not have an understanding or appreciation of the fundamental freedoms and liberties that were so important to our founding fathers. We are supposed three co-equal branches of government and a system of checks & balances. The idea was that they would hold each accountable, so we could avoid tyranny.
    Here’s a good website to check out – http://www.americanfreedomagenda.org

  • smmtheory

    I see…and so according to you,without being privy to the appropriate evidence i should just shut up and proceed under the assumption that brown skins who pray to Allah are all liars on Usama’s payroll becaus the Army does the job I pay them to do with my taxes…does that about sum it up?

    Did you give any sort of consideration at all to the possibility that I might also be one of those “brown skins who pray to Allah”?

  • Ludwig

    “The reality of our government is that everyday, numerous important decisions are made that you are not, and probably never will be told about. It’s that way now and it always has been. Our government is more transparent than most, but it has never been nor was it ever designed to be “absolutely transparent”. You can complain about it until your fingertips bleed, but that won’t change the reality.”
    And once again there is a big difference between not being told about each and every one of the details of day to day governance AND having information on those activities witheld…information without which it is impossible to know weather or not our elected officials are doing what they are supposed to be doing and more importantly AREN’T doing things they shouldnt be doing. You are right about one thing though…this has been indeed a growing trend where the veil of secrecy grows thicker with every successive administration and if that trend is allowed to continue,i can forsee a day in my lifetime where we will be lorded over by a shadow governement that will require both blind faith and unquestioning allegiance. Now i do realize this is still more of a possibility than a probability but the line between the two is often a very fine one and i dont even think it would take another 911 caliber event to make it happen although such an event would almost certainly garantee it.

  • smmtheory

    i can forsee a day in my lifetime where we will be lorded over by a shadow governement that will require both blind faith and unquestioning allegiance.

    Do you mean kind of like Nancy Pelosi is trying to do?

  • Ludwig

    “Do you mean kind of like Nancy Pelosi is trying to do?”
    could very well be…her or anyone else…successive administration have work to gradually dismantle the system of checks and balance which safeguards our freedom with the Bush administration going further and faster than any other before…and if theres one thing i ve learned,its that once the governement give itself a particular power in some area,its almost never a “temporary” thing…i mean come on…by all account here i m a leftist secular humanist and i actually have to sell you conservative christians on the merits of keeping the governement on a short leash?

  • JohnW

    Ludwig, wise up dude-Bushie “conservatives” love the big government. Hand over your all your rights to the government, they’ll protect you from the big bad terrorist lurking behind every tree….afterall if you’re not a terrorist what have you to fear….
    Wake up and smell the tyranny!

  • smmtheory

    Yo, dude! I’m not a Conservative, and I think you’re just trying to peddle another brand of tyranny JohnW.

  • JohnW

    SMMTheory, How would you label yourself politically?
    And FYI, I actually admire some of the true conservatives we still have in this country. George Bush is not a conservative.

  • smmtheory

    I’m a Moderate JohnW, independent and unaffiliated with any political party, voting split ticket all my adult life. I wouldn’t call President Bush a true Conservative either. I think he’s closer to being a Moderate than a Conservative. If it were possible, I’d make it so that Democrats and Republicans were even in Congress so neither party could get the upper hand. Then maybe the ones that are being bone-heads would start thinking about what’s best for the country rather than what’s best for their careers.

  • JohnW

    smmtheory,
    Thanks for sharing that-and I have to say I respect what you expressed about politicians thinking about what is best for the country. Power to the people!
    I’m not a big fan of all the democrats, just so you know. Actually, I think the congressman with the most integrity and intelligence is Texas republican, Ron Paul. On the democratic side, I like Dennis Kucinch-actually Paul and Kucinch have worked together on some issues despite their differences.