The Pelosi Ultimatum

Nancy Pelosi Photo Jim Henley:

Who among you does not think tonight that if Jason Bourne fought his way at last, bleeding and exhausted, into Nancy Pelosi’s office and slapped the Treadstone folder down on the desk in front of her, that she wouldn’t immediately call the guards and hand the file back to the “proper authorities?”

Links at original for those needing context.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Intelligence, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Hal says:

    And still the right wing would harangue her.

    Geebus, she really f*ck’d up.

  2. C.Wagener says:

    She took two different positions on the same subject when political winds changed. If you are surprised by this jump back up on the turnip truck.

  3. Hal says:

    Duh. I didn’t even imply that I was “surprised” by it. What I said was that she really f*ck’d up. It was a classic act that now will undercut any attempt by the House to do anything about it. Because those with even less integrity than a politician will use this as a justification for their own inexcusable positions on torture.

    Surprised? Sadly not. Saddened, sickened, horribly disappointed? yea. A lot.

  4. C.Wagener says:

    Hal,

    I was making a generalized comment,I wasn’t responding to you.

    I do believe you are jumping over any argument whether water-boarding is in fact torture. You are simply making the assertion. You are also glossing over the possibility that we could be faced with a situation that to prevent thousands of people being killed a single person would have to be water-boarded.

    Another thing worth thinking about is what we look past everyday that is far worse than water-boarding. There is considerable violence in prison. You might also visit a cancer ward. Purely innocent people lived for weeks or months in agony because we haven’t worked out the rules we want to apply in such cases.

    I’m not suggesting ignoring torture or how enemies should be treated, just that it falls far down the list of problems in the world. No one is torturing people (in the U.S.) for fun. Further there appears to have only been three instances when this actually took place (outside the application to Americans for training purposes).

    As for Nancy Pelosi, whatever she gets she deserves. Her judgment was that harsh interrogation techniques were necessary to fight this war, but then took a fraudulent public “principled position” that would benefit her while harming the country.

  5. Hal says:

    I was making a generalized comment,I wasn’t responding to you.

    k.

    I do believe you are jumping over any argument whether water-boarding is in fact torture. You are simply making the assertion.

    This is sophistry, pure and simple. Look, we’ve prosecuted people for water boarding as torture. The SERE instructors who train our troops to resist torture classify water boarding as torture. Treaties we have signed classify water boarding as torture. Only someone who is keen on occluding the issue promotes the idea that the jury is still out on water boarding qua torture.

    Another thing worth thinking about is what we look past everyday that is far worse than water-boarding

    Hard to believe, but you then continue to reach for new heights of sophistry – or lows, as the case may be. Your argument is that because prison is a violent place and we’re not even enforcing the laws we have on the books regarding prison violence that it’s okay to use torture. My lord, this doesn’t even deserve a response. And then you bring up cancer wards? People with horrific diseases that are suffering due to our anti-drug law based issues with giving pain killers as a reason that water boarding isn’t torture?

    Complete madness. Complete.

    I’m not suggesting ignoring torture or how enemies should be treated, just that it falls far down the list of problems in the world

    I beg to differ with you. Your arguments are precisely that: suggesting that we ignore torture. Precisely because you say it falls far down the list of the problems of world.

    Sophistry. Pure and simple.

    Finally, wrt the absolutely idiotic ticking bomb scenario

    You are also glossing over the possibility that we could be faced with a situation that to prevent thousands of people being killed a single person would have to be water-boarded.

    I’ll just hand this off to that toady Andrew Sullivan, whom I quite despise but has done a very good job of digging himself out of the pit he made for himself after 9/11:

    [W]hen you look at what torture has done already to the United States, we see that every bad scenario that those of us who oppose torture feared has actually come about. And we have no independent evidence that it has solved anything, or saved any lives, except the self-serving statements of those who authorized it. And the truth is: we will probably never know. If they are cynical and brazen enough to destroy incriminating tapes, they are cynical and brazen enough to destroy any evidence within the executive branch that could prove that their torture policy has failed. If this isn’t a form of tyranny, annexed to torture, what is? And if the executive branch can simply get away with it, and have serious commentators defend the president’s trashing of the Constitution as necessary to fulfill his oath of office, we really have left the rule of law behind in the ditch.

    You people should be ashamed of yourself for even bringing this crap up in the first place.

  6. C.Wagener says:

    Hal other than using the word sophistry a lot, you didn’t address any issues. Other than these issues are beneath you. Including apparently some nasty little thing like thousands of innocent people dying. How could a great intellectual like yourself waste time with something as silly as human life.

    Oh, and why if this is so air tight (according to your nonexistent arguments) can’t congress pass a law to outlaw water-boarding?

    God luck with community college!

  7. Hal says:

    ? WTF? I directly addressed the issue of legality.

    Including apparently some nasty little thing like thousands of innocent people dying.

    We all die. Apparently, incinerating hundreds of thousands of civilians with atomic bombs is okay in one scenario – WW II – but not okay in another scenario. You’re example of the ticking time bomb has been completely eliminated by the objective facts. Again, quoting from Sullivan’s post

    Notice also that this isn’t the ticking time bomb case that Charles has previously invoked to defend torture. There was no imminent threat to hundreds of thousands of people; we had no way of knowing for sure that Zubaydah had any knowledge of such a devastating threat; and we have no independent way of knowing whether the information he allegedly gave up under torture was factually accurate. And so in the initial cases of torture under this administration, we discover it was used simply because we had no good intelligence of future threats; and we decided to use torture for a fishing expedition. So much for the rare exception to the rule.

    If you actually think the ridiculous scenario you have put together in your mind is worth torture, then go for it. If you actually do save thousands of lives with your water boarding then stand up and take it like a man and put it before the court. But that’s not what you’re saying.

    Look, torture isn’t just about physical pain. I pretty much assume anyone willing to nuke people as a terrorist – or whatever horrific act you have in mind – is going to be pretty resistant to pain. So, it comes down to psychological torture. And here’s where it gets really fun. So, you’re willing to cause someone physical pain, but how about raping their child in front of them? Are you going to offer your services to save thousands?

    As I said above, we all die and quite frankly, I’d rather die with my humanity intact than torture someone on the off chance that it may reveal something in a hypothetical situation based on a TV plot – which you apparently think is reality. Sorry, you’re just all going to have to die along with me because there’s some things I’m not willing to give up.

    You, apparently, have made a quite different calculation. Bravo. But don’t try to justify it by twisting the facts. It’s torture, pure and simple. That you think it’s justified does not make it any less torture. The fact that you are trying to simultaneously argue it isn’t torture – or that it’s a “grey” area when it’s pretty darn clear that it’s not – all the while that you’re arguing it’s justified torture pretty much outs your argument for exactly what it is: Sophistry.

    God luck with community college!

    You know, it’s assouls like you that give humanity a bad name. I really love how you repeatedly (certainly not the first time, as I recall) try to put me down by comparing me to some class of people that you think are below contempt. You love to insult and it’s pretty clear that you think it’s actually an acceptable way to argue. Call me stupid, call me illiterate or whatever the heck you want. But please stop insulting a whole class of people in your pathetically lame mode of argument that most people outgrew in the third grade.

  8. C.Wagener says:

    Man how many words can you write without saying anything? You argue that if they grab a random guy off the street and torture him and justify it by a bogus ticking time bomb scenario, that it is morally wrong. Wow your deep.

    As for insulting you, I’m always civil and respectful until I receive otherwise. Is there anything in my first post that shows disrespect? Compare and contrast your tirade that contains zero on point arguments.

    Even when you use a bizarre appeal to authority argument you insult Sullivan. Here’s how to insult Sullivan: he loved everything about Bush, including how he looked in a flight suit until Bush came out against gay marriage.

    We’re all going to die anyway? Well we are all going to feel pain anyway, so why not torture? Even by Internet standards that is a nut job argument.

    And again, since congress debated water-boarding why if this is all so obvious that they haven’t outlawed the practice?

  9. Hal says:

    s there anything in my first post that shows disrespect?

    Is there anything in my response that shows disrespect? No. Well, I guess you got offended by my use of “Duh”.

    Again, I don’t care if you disrespect me. What apparently you cannot comprehend is insulting an entire class of people in your lame attempt to insult me as a person. Like I said, say anything you want to me. But only a true loser will reveal how little he cares for others by using an entire class of people to insult the person he has an issue with. That you think it’s a valid way to insult people is quite revealing.

    The only interpretation possible from your insult is that you think people who go to community college are dumb or somehow not worthy of the lofty heights from which you argue. That’s pretty darn insulting to an entire class of people which you decided was perfectly okay because of what? Because I said “Duh”? Or because I used the word “sophistry” too many times which insulted your delicate sensibilities.

    In any event, it’s pretty clear what your argument pattern is. Variations of “there are worse things” moving to rather silly equalities between diseases and prison violence. I mean, really. It’s basically juvenile and if you think that’s a high level argument, then there’s no further discussion needed. As to And again, since congress debated water-boarding why if this is all so obvious that they haven’t outlawed the practice? The answer is they obviously have. They’ve ratified the treaties which ban water-boarding. And since treaties are, by the constitution, the law of the land then there’s little for them to do about it that hasn’t already been done.

    Certainly they can painfully enumerate each and every possible act which constitutes torture, but that’s just a rather obviously silly way of doing things and goes quite contrary to the way rational individuals understand how things are done – e.g. I don’t expect the law to enumerate every possible way to commit murder in order to outlaw murder. Only someone who’s – you know – a Sophist would spout such an argument in the vain and rather comical attempt to twist the issue such that he occlude the issue and make some unsuspecting person think there’s a real need to explicitly ban water-boarding.

    And then there’s the fact – as I previously stated and you simply ignored – that we have already prosecuted water-boarding as a war crime. Again, I know you people on this side of the torture argument can’t seem to possibly understand legal precedent, but that basically means we – as a country, in our laws – classify water-boarding as torture.

    Finally, as to the rather asinine question you ask

    Well we are all going to feel pain anyway, so why not torture?

    Because human beings believe that it’s wrong to inflict pain on others that we don’t have to. I know you simply don’t understand this basic idea, and consequently your using it as an almost laughable response to my comment, but really. If you feel like torturing is okay, just come out and say it. Stop with the pussy footing around with bizarre comparisons, comical allusions and laughable plot lines from 24 to justify it. It’s torture. You think it’s okay. Just deal with it. Yes, that makes you a monster in most of humanity’s eyes, but it’s pretty much the decision you’ll have to live with. Show some stones and stop making yourself look ridiculous with these arguments.

  10. FireWolf says:

    Hal? C. Wagener? Perhaps you two need to get a room or something?