Quote of the Day – Repugnant Edition
“For those most committed to the ridiculous crusade for terrorist rights, ‘enhanced interrogation’ is not only immoral and illegal, it’s ineffective. That argument, like Khalid Sheik Mohamed, doesn’t hold water.” – Michael Goldfarb
One wonders what John McCain, who suffered torture for five years as a guest of the North Vietnamese and whose campaign employed Goldfarb as deputy communications director, thinks of this sneering trivialization. Here’s what McCain said from the Senate floor in 2005:
Our enemies did not adhere to the Geneva Convention. Many of my comrades were subjected to very cruel, very inhumane, and degrading treatment, a few of them even unto death. But every single one of us knew and took great strength from the belief that we were different from our enemies, that we were better than them, that if the roles were reversed, we would not disgrace ourselves by committing or countenancing such mistreatment of them. That faith was indispensable not only to our survival but to our attempts to return home with honor. Many of the men I served with would have preferred death to such dishonor.
The enemies we fight today hold such liberal notions in contempt as they hold in contempt the international conventions that enshrine them, such as the Geneva Conventions and the Treaty on Torture. I know that. But we are better than them, and we are stronger for our faith, and we will prevail.
I submit to my colleagues that it is indispensable to our success in this war that our service men and women know that in the discharge of their dangerous responsibilities to their country they are never expected to forget that they are Americans and the valiant defenders of a sacred idea of how nations should govern their own affairs and their relations with others, even our enemies.
On April 6, 2004, the Second Battalion, Fourth Marines lost whatever innocence it may have had about its task in the city of Ramadi, Iraq:
Donavan Campbell, Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood, pp. 188-189
I’ve had dealings with Mr. Goldfarb. That a man who will take 100% credit for another blogger’s work and accuse another blogger of having no standards and say what he did above, don’t surprise me.
And in 2008, McCain voted against the ban on waterboarding. So he probably agrees with his former staffer.
Correct, he does. It’s one of the few things I can support him on. And James, I think if you will look you will find the topic wasn’t waterboarding, per se’ but AbuGirabe, which is a totally disconnetced matter.
I’m with Goldbfarb, who also says:
Oh, and McCain thinks prosecuting people who offered legal justifications for torture would constitute a “witch hunt” and smack of the actions of a “banana republic”.
Rule of law!
Huh? This isn’t just a disagreement with a former administration, as this ridiculous “banana republic” argument claims. It’s plainly illegal, and the AG is required to prosecute it.
And now I’ll go ad hominem on Goldfarb – sure looks like someone tortured him with an ugly stick.
Important to note too, James, that McCain was not alone in this. The Army, the Air Force, the Marines, the Navy and the FBI all informed the Department of Defense that in their view most of Category 2 and all of category 3 would be considered torture. In the case of the FBI, such was their concern, that their officers were ordered out of the interrogation rooms. Further, all five branches concur that torture does not work, unless of course used to extract pre-ordained confessions (See: North Korea, Vietnam, Salem).
A long discussion of McCain’s vote on the torture bill: “U.S. Senate Narrowly Bans Torture by CIA.”
McCain has consistently said waterboarding should be illegal.
How is the specific application at Abu Ghraib of a systematic policy of torture “totally disconnected”?
If you condemn what happened at abu Ghriab, you have to condemn the use of the same tactics elsewhere, no?
Ah, so this is ‘burning straw man 2009’?
It wouldn’t be, were that the case… Then again, neither was Abu Girab a result of a systematic policy of torture, but rather a few rouges. Are you really prepared to suggest that Lindy what’s her name was operating under orders?
Okay… so basically you have not bothered to read any of the released documents, extensive reporting in the media, or the reports of congressional committees and international organizations. Good to know. Ignorance is bliss, eh Bit?
Nice try, Bernard.
Answer the question I asked. If you can’t answer in the affirmative, then you’re dealing with politics not fact.
Ah yes, the “few bad apples” theory.
Actually there is truth to this premise. Except that the bad apples were named Cheney, Rumsfeld and so on….
As a lad, bit must have been the absolute king of “the dog ate my homework” excuses…
“Can you prove that the dog DID NOT eat my homework? If you can’t answer in the affirmative…
Bit, who is the hero of “Atlas Shrugged”? If you can’t answer, we are dealing with the fact that you don’t know…
Bit… seriously, have you read Jane Mayer’s book, The Dark Side?
And I don’t know if Lindy English was under orders. She didn’t commit all the abuse herself. And we do know that soldiers at Abu Ghraib were ordered to soften up the detainees. We also know that the techniques used: hooding, stress positions, threats with dogs, and sexual humiliation were explicitly authorized at the very highest levels of the Administration. They appear in the “torture memos.” They were briefed to Condi and the other members of the Principles Committee as early as 2002. They were used at Abu Ghraib. They were used at Bagram. They were used at Guantanamo. They were used in “black sites” elsewhere.
None of this actually is even disputed anymore. What people like Cheney, et al, are arguing now is that the techniques were necessary and that they worked.
So not only don’t you seem to know the facts of the case, you’re not even current with wingnut talking points.
To dispense with the ad hominem for once, you’re simply incorrect. Moreover, the inaccuracy of your statements has been demonstrated in such thorough and explicit detail that the more informed folks of your general mindset aren’t really trying those lines anymore.
I suggest you spend sometime with this report.
Not literally everything that happened in Abu Ghirab, to be fair, was specifically authorized – only about 50%. Another 40% was non-specifically encouraged, along the lines of general demands to “get tough”. Another 10-20% was genuinely non-institutional personal fun for the guards.
It’d be very interesting to see who all has been tortured. Contemptible as it is a number of people will defend torturing KSM under some idea that human rights only apply to people we like. My guess is they’ll have a harder time rationalizing the torture of random afghani shepherds detained for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or other innocents sold to us by headhunters seeking a bounty on terrorists (as occurred in Afghanistan).
Maybe we’d even find Padilla’s name on that list. That might open a few eyes…
When I start tossing charges around the usual thing that bounces back (And this isn’t just directed at you, Bernard) is an appeal to some authorityor another. So, let’s see, here. Do we have anyone else we might point at, bar the few individuals brought to trial? No?
Well, then the appeal to authority doesn’t seem to back the case that this was systemic abuse at AG, does it?
A nice change.
And yet you provide nothing to back the statement with… and this is shown clearly when you’re forced to admit:
That 50% figure seems pretty generous to your argument. And let’s remember the political environment in which that whole investigation was run, shall we?
I’ll close with a comment I left Clariece Feldman a bit ago, that goes directly to the basis of these discussions:
Here’s an interesting thought:
How many times do you think we’d have to waterboard Bithead to get him to confess that waterboarding is torture?
Well guys, bithead has to go through life as… bithead. Don’t you think his pain threshold is pretty darned high?
How fascinating that some of the same people who profess to love our country so much, who claim to be so very proud of it, who claim that it is unique and special, also have no problem with our government using the same vile methods practiced by some of modern history’s nastiest despots and two-bit, flea-bitten, tinpot dictators…I am well aware that 9/11 scared the shit out of some people, but, as time goes on, we see exactly how that fear has caused some people to lose their humanity, assuming they ever had much of it in the first place…
Uh-uh, Sam. No you di’in’! No you di’int! Aw, BAM!!