Apr 21, 2009

Those Who Prefer Pretending & Wilful Ignorance Are Doing a Disservice to Our Country

So, I had my suspicions before but didn't want to know that my girlfriend was cheating on me. However, the love letters now came out and, yes, she was cheating on me. I'm very upset about this. I really didn't want to know and didn't want to confront reality. I preferred to keep my innocence and willful ignorance. I'm also very embarrassed, because the world knows about the violation of my trust. How can I face the world today? At least up to now I could pretend everything was fine and deny the rumors!....

Anyway, in the news these days, the proof about torture is indisputable. Yet, the problem conservatives see is the telling not the crime! Horrors! It's not about the torture it's about being told our government lied to us regarding torture. Conservatives see this revelation as embarrassing and another proof that Obama is weaking American standing the world. Wait! This is bizarro world. It's not about the actual violation of human rights, the law of the land, and ethics, it's about being told about the cheating, er, the crime? Wow!

They knew and approved of torture!

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Torture is delivering punishment before someone is found guilty in a court of law! What does it say about the country of laws? Obama wrong when he says there will be no punishment for those who violated the law, ethics, and human decency. We should make an example of those who broke the law. Following orders isn't a good defense when it comes to human rights violations. How about those who authorized torture? How about those, like former AG Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, both of whom tried to re-define non-torture as anything that doesn't kill or destroys a major body organ! Pulling fingernails out or cutting off fingers woud not be torture according to these criminals.

Torture doesn't work, our experts know this; but even if it worked occasionally, we can't make a practice out of an exception! Our legal principle is to safeguard the innocent even if this means some guilty persons will go free. We don't admit confessions from torture in a court of law. Surely, if we put every arrested person under torture, we could obtaim more confessions... good or bad, real or imaginary facts.

I hear those who say waterboarding isn't torture, but this is not a very good defense since we prosecuted and executed Japanese soldiers & officers because they had waterboarded our own POWs.

At least, Congress hopefully can impeach a federal judge, Jay Bybee, who in the Bush administration authorized torture. Last week, President Obama released four Bush-era legal memos authorizing torture. The earliest one, from 2002, was signed by Jay Bybee, then an Assistant Attorney General and now a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the memo, Bybee authorized CIA interrogators to, among other techniques:

  • --Slam a detainee's head against a wall: "any pain experienced is not of the intensity associated with serious physical injury."
  • -- Slap a detainee's face: "The facial slap does not produce pain that is difficult to endure."
  • -- Place a detainee into stress positions: "They simply involve forcing the subject to remain in uncomfortable positions."
  • -- Waterboard a detainee: "The waterboard...inflicts no pain or actual harm whatsoever."

These techniques are illegal by U.S. statute and international treaty to which the U.S. is a signatory. Bybee attempted to give legal cover to illegal acts, and thus broke the ethical, professional, and legal standards that should govern lawyers.
And, if you care to see a demonstration--under controlled circumstances where the subject has control as to when to stop this procedure--watch this video:


I see that some are trying to make the argument for torture on the grounds that is effective and it has kept the country safe since 9-11. Great! Why don't we turn this country into a big holding cell whereas Big Brother will keep us safe no matter what it takes... Tsk.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if Hitchens wasn't sure about torture before, but he definitely made a strong statement against torture by submitting himself to this procedure.

Andros said...

Can you imagine being waterboarded 183 time a month??!!! What for 10-20' at a time.... They practically didn't do anything else with that prisoner but torture him constantly!

inquisitor said...

I think they were doing this for fun! I can't explain it otherwise. If he had something to say, he would have...

I've watched videos of waterboarding and no one has lasted more than a few seconds...

where's my faculty staff? said...

As a teacher, I'm frustrated by the views of some students who still think waterboarding isn't torture. Or, that even torture should be allowed under certain circumstances.

Of course, they don't see that unless you give rights to others, you have no rights yourself. I understand that most people internalize the argument, that is, "how does this apply to me?" So, they think that they'll never be a terrorist suspect, therefore, this situation won't apply to them!

Andros said...

Those protections mean something. It's supposed to be difficult to condemn the accused. We have this moral and legal value: it's better to let the guilty go free than to convict one innocent person.

I'll repeat, even if there was a situation were torture would produce good information, what would be the principle it'd operate? Suspicion? The testimony of the arresting officer?

I've heard of the ticking bomb scenario, but, again, how do you safeguard the innocent? Furthermore, where do you draw the line before you apply torture?

If you open the door to torture, then you demean the values for which you stand.

drew said...

Sure, pro-active torture is a good way to establish ..evidence!

So, when Bush/Cheney want to establish a connection between Saddam and Osama and 9-11, what better way than to torture people and say, "see, we told you so, there was a connection!"

Problem solved. or not...

Tuli said...

Dearest George:

The DOJ Memos are the evidence that this policy came from the Top and not the aberrant behavior of just a few “Rotten Apples.” And yet the American Public and far too many of our Elected Officials already knew this and nothing was done about it. Ours is a violent culture and too many think that they will never be victims of government abuse. And they believe that violence shows strength. You have to be tough on these criminals not show weakness by following the “Rule of Law.” Shame on them! Just ask Jane Harman. Now she is upset about being wiretapped, though not when she thought it was just going to be others.

When can we bring “Civics” back? Probably not as long as Sarah Palin, and Willful Ignorance, is considered a viable Presidential Candidate?

And my question is what kind of “Actionable Intelligence” was Stalin trying to obtain through torture, other than the usual false confession?

Rant Overish!