Torture Report’s Long Shadow

What now?

torture-report

My latest for The National Interest, “Torture Doesn’t Work: The CIA Torture Report’s Long Shadow,” has published.

Despite the editor-assigned title, that torture doesn’t work “is not new news.” What especially bothers me are the defenders of torture that point to the hard job the CIA had.

On the one hand, I wholeheartedly concur that our intelligence professionals are in “an unfathomably difficult position” and are asked to do an essentially impossible job with potentially deadly consequences. On the other, this is the same mindset that lets police get away with killing unarmed civilians with impunity. Those performing dangerous jobs protecting the public deserve our understanding; they shouldn’t be above our laws or immune from scrutiny.

Like Senator Dianne Feinstein, the outgoing chair of the committee who courageously released the report, despite bullying from the intelligence community, I “can understand the CIA’s impulse to consider the use of every tool to gather intelligence and remove terrorists from the battlefield.” But, as she rightly notes, “such pressure, fear, and expectation of future terrorist plots do not justify, temper, or excuse improper actions taken by individuals or organizations in the name of national security.”

Oddly, that notion was simply common sense not all that long ago. As a freshman cadet thirty years ago last summer, the laws of war were drummed into me even before I studied battlefield tactics or the capabilities of weapons systems. That military professionals had a sacred duty to protect noncombatants, treat surrendering enemy soldiers humanely, and otherwise uphold our laws and our values, even at increased risk to our own lives and those of the soldiers under our command, was simply a given.

And, yet, I don’t really know what to do about it.

[W]hile I frequently and publicly opposed the use of waterboarding, rendition and all the rest, even in the earliest days after 9/11, and even while strongly supporting the Bush administration, I fully understood why the people with the awesome responsibilities of safeguarding the nation in those days might have thought torture was “worth it.” Thus, I’m left in the untenable position of simultaneously believing that the Bush administration acted illegally in many cases and yet not thinking that Bush, Cheney, Yoo and company ought go to jail for these acts. Indeed, I share this odd position with the current administration.

The cynical explanation is that Obama is president now and he doesn’t want anyone second-guessing him down the road. But it’s also something much more: sitting in the big chair gives him an appreciation of how hard it is to fill. Indeed, more than a decade after 9/11, Obama himself is still making compromises with the law, including the Constitution, which he swore to uphold, in the name of safeguarding the Republic.

While there are horrific revelations in the report—including that CIA willfully and routinely misled, if not outright lied to, everyone from their own inspector general to the oversight committees of Congress and even the president of the United States—we’ve known the broad brushes of this for more than a decade. While Congress and the Bush administration reined in the worst of the abuses by 2005, our elected leadership and public opinion overwhelmingly supported illegal actions in the name of protecting the nation from terrorism. There’s no appetite for punishing anybody and it’s therefore highly unlikely that anyone will be punished for torture.

Which leads me to an uncomfortable close:

If nothing else, CIA officials who lied to everyone from their own IG to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to the FBI to Congress and the White House should be called on the carpet. There is, of course, a perversity in going after bureaucratic miscreants for lying about torture while letting the torturers themselves and leaders at the highest level who authorized torture to go free. But there’s simply no appetite for going after elected leaders who were overzealous in fighting terrorism.

And as outrageous—and, again, illegal under both U.S. and international law—as the acts of torture against terrorist suspects in our name were, they were at least relatively few in number and long-since discontinued. The notion of a rogue agency taking these actions of its own volition, willfully evading the myriad checks, balances and safeguards built into the system is ultimately even more destructive to our values.

That conclusion is less than uplifting. But the report shed light on what Doug Mataconis has rightly termed A Dark and Regrettable Time In American History. It was by no means the only one; indeed, it was neither the darkest nor most regrettable. The most important thing now is making it less likely that we repeat these outrages. And making sure our institutional checks and balances are allowed to operate is the best safeguard of that.

FILED UNDER: Bureaucracy, Crime, Intelligence, National Security, Terrorism, 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. Loviatar says:

    James,

    [W]hile I frequently and publicly opposed the use of waterboarding, rendition and all the rest, even in the earliest days after 9/11, and even while strongly supporting the Bush administration, I fully understood why the people with the awesome responsibilities of safeguarding the nation in those days might have thought torture was “worth it.” Thus, I’m left in the untenable position of simultaneously believing that the Bush administration acted illegally in many cases and yet not thinking that Bush, Cheney, Yoo and company ought go to jail for these acts. Indeed, I share this odd position with the current administration.

    .
    For all your hightone sophistry, as your fellow front pager so elquontly put it You are Defending Torture.

  2. Mikey says:

    The notion of a rogue agency taking these actions of its own volition, willfully evading the myriad checks, balances and safeguards built into the system is ultimately even more destructive to our values.

    This seems to me the thing defenders of these procedures are missing most of all. Even in the unlikely circumstance the awful mistreatment of these prisoners resulted in some intel of value, the overriding fact is we have a large and powerful government agency that apparently feels its mission is so important it overrides domestic law, international law, and the Constitution. You’d think that would worry the average conservative, but apparently not.

    But you’re right, there isn’t any appetite for prosecution. The President won’t, and in my experience so far even my most liberal friends are in pretty much the same uncomfortable place you are.

  3. Davebo says:

    Thus, I’m left in the untenable position of simultaneously believing that the Bush administration acted illegally in many cases and yet not thinking that Bush, Cheney, Yoo and company ought go to jail for these acts.

    Agreed. Do you think, given the serious nature of the crimes the best remedy is for Obama or his replacement to issue a pardon to Bush, Cheney, Yoo and company?

    After all, we have a long established history of handling things that way. It would emphasize the fact that crimes were indeed committed while insulating the guilty from punishment.

    Not a “I hereby pardon Casper Weinberger for all the things he didn’t do that I didn’t know about” type of pardon mind you but a real one.

  4. Scott says:

    But there’s simply no appetite for going after elected leaders who were overzealous in fighting terrorism.

    I think this is because we, as a nation, are afraid of the consequences to our nation, our system of government, and our national self-image. It is not just this time but past incidences like Watergate where Nixon was pardoned rather than tried. Perhaps it would have been better to let the nation go through the trauma so we could be healed permanently rather than let it be pushed under the rug.

    The trouble is that we let crime become politicized.

    Maybe we are just cowards, after all.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: To this day I despise Gerald Ford. I have from the day I heard the news of the pardon on a car radio. A mugshot picture of Richard Nixon would have done wonders for our political ethics, even if he never spent a day actually in jail.

  6. CET says:

    @Mikey:
    You’d think that would worry the average conservative, but apparently not.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that this is changing (see: support from the base for Rand Paul’s filibuster, for example), albeit slowly and with a great deal of resistance from Cheney and the other neocons.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    The problem we face is that absent some form of punishment the culture of torture perpetuates.
    If the only consequence of a$$-raping and killing people is that the Director of the CIA has to suffer thru some difficult TV interviews…then the a$$-raping and killing continues.
    Torture is illegal.
    These people tortured.
    Someone needs to be punished.
    And sure as fvck Lynndie England isn’t the only one that should be punished.
    Innocent people were tortured.
    Guilty people shouldn’t walk free.

  8. cian says:

    James,

    I respect very much your honest grappling with this, the most difficult of subjects. The damage this has done to America’s standing is incalculable, but worse, perhaps, is how the public’s attitude to torture has changed over the past 10 years. Pew’s survey suggests up to 70% of Americans now think torture should be used ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’. And so a great democracy ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper. Tragic.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    Bush and Cheney allowed 9.11 to happen on their watch…invaded another sovereign nation for no reason at a tremendous cost in both blood and treasure…and they tortured people in their panic.
    And we should shrug our shoulders and walk away???
    Strip them of their titles and pensions…something…anything. But don’t let them walk away act free.

  10. Steve Hynd says:

    Thomas Dodd and the other great Americans who made the Nuremberg Principles a clarion call of hope for the rule of law are now spinning at high rpm in their graves.

  11. Slugger says:

    When the events at Abu Ghraib were revealed in 2003, I was shocked, disgusted, and dismayed. The current revelations continue this feeling, but we as a nation can not be ruled by an emotion. We need to take a clear-eyed look at the big picture. We uncorked the evil genie of war following a serious provocation. War is killing, killing and rape, murder, arson, and torture while a flag is being waved and inspirational music is played. I doubt that all of the more than 100,000 Iraqis killed in the war were deserving of death. I doubt that the million Iraqis who were made homeless refugees deserved that. Mr. Andrew Sullivan is expressing condemnation of the actions of the CIA, but I recall that he was a cheerleader for the war. Andy, what did you think wars bring?
    As we look at the current situation in that region, we should ask ourselves about our long-term goals and remember that our methods will determine the success of any ideals we claim.

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    Prosecuting the likes of Bush and Cheney requires that those doing the prosecuting are clean. Considering that after Abu Ghraib, Bush was reelected, and let’s be honest (he was partially reelected because he went into Iraq, tortured, and caused mayhem), we can wipe those people off the list of the clean. Next: journalists. Forget about the lies and access related to the Iraq war, or the fact that without being conduits for straight-out propaganda, most journalists and pundits would not have jobs because they would be replaced by those who would happily serve as conduits. Look into personal records. There are millions of aspiring snitches and operatives who would gladly take an embarrassing email given to them by the CIA or the NSA and make a story out of it. The same goes for Senate and Congress. Why else would the CIA have been snooping on their computers?

  13. Moosebreath says:

    I’ve said before that I knew the Bush the Younger Administration was going to be historically bad because they seemed determined to give positions to people whose handling of Iran-Contra should have disqualified them from future governmental service (Poindexter, Elliot Abrams, etc.). I fear that if Yoo, Rodriguez, etc. are not prosecuted, then a future administration will hire them, with similar results.

  14. Barry says:

    James: “And as outrageous—and, again, illegal under both U.S. and international law—as the acts of torture against terrorist suspects in our name were, they were at least relatively few in number and long-since discontinued. The notion of a rogue agency taking these actions of its own volition, willfully evading the myriad checks, balances and safeguards built into the system is ultimately even more destructive to our values.”

    The first is a lie. Note that in Abu Grhaib the highest level people imprisoned were SSGT’s. And google around – the torture was widespread, and orders came down from above.

    Notice that the ‘memos’ justifying torture were not written by a low-level attorney in various bureaus, but by the highest ranking attorneys in the US government.

  15. James Joyner says:

    @Loviatar: But I’m not. It’s illegal, immoral, and ineffective. I’ve said that from the earliest days of this blog. But there are instances where I think we should merely condemn illegal, immoral, and ineffective actions given the totality of circumstances. This is one of them.

    To take a much less epic example, the other day I disagreed with Doug on whether Michael Brown’s stepfather incited a riot:

    He urged violence in an emotional situation with an angry mob present and in clear proximity to the target of his urged violence. Further, because of his relationship to the victim, his words were likely to be taken seriously.

    Head is clearly guilty here. I wouldn’t charge him simply because there’s no evidence of premeditation—he was almost certainly acting out of grief and anger—because it would be perverse to further inflict harm on the victim’s family while the killer of their loved one went free, and because it would likely further inflame an already tense situation. Discretion here is the better part of valor. But Head committed a crime, potentially with very deadly consequences, in his emotional state.

    The torture situation is more complicated. Bush, Cheney, et al did what they did with much more opportunity to reflect. But they were also, as the Senate report makes clear, made to believe something less sinister was going on than was actually going on. Additionally, they had legal cover from Yoo and company. And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    None of that makes it right. It was wrong and I’ve said so repeatedly. But I get why they did it, don’t think they were evil, and don’t think they should be punished.

  16. cian says:

    Additionally, they had legal cover from Yoo and company. And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    Kind of what every rogue state says- think Pinochet, the Argentinian generals, Stalin, Mao. They all made sure the actions they took were lawful, and all firmly believed it was for the good of their countries.

  17. Loviatar says:

    @James Joyner:

    My God; the sophistry, the justification, it’s breathtaking. I’m almost lost for words. As a former Army Officer myself, the sad thing for me is that you were also an officer, you were counted among the best and the brightest. Now you use your military cachet and rhetorical skills to justify and defend torture.

    ———

    But there are instances where I think we should merely condemn illegal, immoral, and ineffective actions given the totality of circumstances. This is one of them.

    Wow, and you teach with that mouth.

    ———-

    And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    And I’m sure if you could ask Quantrill he would say he would say he honestly believed he doing what was necessary for the national security.

    ———-

    But I get why they did it, don’t think they were evil, and don’t think they should be punished.

    As former military, this why I’m glad you’re out and my sincerest hope is that anyone you influence with this mindset never serve.
    .

  18. Loviatar says:

    @James Joyner:

    It seems your fellow front pager has a post up about Rationalizing Torture, maybe you should go over and take a look.

  19. James Joyner says:

    @cian:

    Kind of what every rogue state says- think Pinochet, the Argentinian generals, Stalin, Mao. They all made sure the actions they took were lawful, and all firmly believed it was for the good of their countries.

    That’s simply not true. They were concerned exclusively with regime survival and quashing their internal enemies. It’s just sophistry to pretend that there’s any similarity here.

    @Loviatar: But I explicitly (1) concede that this was torture and (2) say it was not only unnecessary but “illegal, immoral, and ineffective.” To understand isn’t to condone.

  20. Loviatar says:

    @cian:

    I respect very much your honest grappling with this, the most difficult of subjects.

    I couldn’t disagree more with this statement.

    This is not a difficult subject, there’s nothing to grapple with here, these men we’re discussing, either tortured, ordered torture or covered for torture. While doing so they broke the law. Tell me, why is this a difficult subject, we know they broke the law and usually in this country when you break the law you’re investigated, arrested and possibly jailed.

    What’s difficult for James and what he is grappling with is he must turn against his neo-confederate Republican party leaders in a more substantial way than just saying bad, bad boy, now you stop that and don’t do it again. For an example of this rhetoric see John McCain; he is more than willing to speak about how bad and ineffective torture is, but ask him to vote in any substantial way against it and all of a sudden he has objections.

    James is following the John McCain game plan on torture; all talk, no action.

  21. KM says:

    If anything remotely good can come from this, it’s an honest discussion on American Exceptionalism and how a mindset like that poisons our political and cultural well. Many of the pro-torture arguments spring from tribalism or eye-for-an-eye but we cannot deny that there is a definite strain of “America gets a pass because FREEDOM!!” We are constantly being told we are the best nation, the most moral successor to the mantle of Democracy, the supposed Shining City on the Hill. We buy this crap and then use it to justify horrid things, saying “America is awesome!” like that’s all there is to it.

    Facts are facts: this is proof we are not exceptional but rather exist in the common company of nations like Nazi Germany, Vietnam, Chile, Iraq and all those who’s leadership allowed and encouraged this. In others, America’s acting like the thugs we profess to hate. We are not the bastion of liberty we like to pretend we are. We can be – but we’d need to stop this, admit we &#%&@ up, and change our ways. If we want to lead by example, we need to actually live the example we hold up. No more excuses.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    I think your attack on Joyner is way over the top. I don’t see him justifying torture or excusing it.

    The sole question at hand is, “what now?” Do we propose to send FBI agents over to George W. Bush’s home, and Dick Cheney’s home, to haul them away in handcuffs? Is that what you want to see happen? Will that help the United States to move forward?

    Because, I can tell you how the narrative will play out. A good half or more of the American people will see it as political pay-back. It will be a Democratic president arresting a Republican president. And when they are tried and a jury finds them not guilty, the force of that narrative will grow, setting off a cycle of revenge: you arrested my president, now I’m going to arrest yours.

    A big part of me wants these sons of b-tches brought to justice, but is that really the future we want? Do we want presidents arresting their predecessors?

    There are better ways. As James mentions, this isn’t our first national disgrace. This is bad, but it isn’t ethnic cleansing of native-Americans, nor is it slavery, nor is it Jim Crow, nor is it poisoning of booze during Prohibition, and on and on. It’s hard to think of a US president who at some time or another would not have been subject to arrest. Arresting former presidents is a fast trip down the road to Guatemala.

    I think in this case pardon is the elegant solution. It’s not politically toxic, but it makes the point that we see these as criminal acts.

  23. Franklin says:

    There’s an argumentative piece on Slate right now that pertains to this. My quick summary: We should pardon those responsible for making the calls, not because it is morally correct (it isn’t), but because making torture a partisan issue nearly guarantees that we will continue torturing.

    EDIT: This is provided as food for thought; my mind isn’t personally made up one way or the other. In other words, I’m begging you not to shoot the messenger.

  24. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think your attack on Joyner is way over the top. I don’t see him justifying torture or excusing it.

    We’re taught in the military, you don’t make excuses for or justify illegal orders. Ordering or carrying out torture on orders is illegal. James know this, if he has served for any time, it has been hammered into his psyche. For him to now justify away the punishment for those who ordered or carried an illegal order means he is justifying the illegal order. So no I don’t think I’m over the top.

  25. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The sole question at hand is, “what now?” Do we propose to send FBI agents over to George W. Bush’s home, and Dick Cheney’s home, to haul them away in handcuffs? Is that what you want to see happen? Will that help the United States to move forward?

    Why is it always so hard to arrest the white man?

    Are we not a country of laws? Are Bush and Cheney above the law? If so, maybe then we should no longer say we are a civilized society. We should then say what we are; a tribe where might over right and vengeance above all is the law of the land

  26. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: Yeah, it’s a frustrating position. All the options are bad. But it’s not a partisan position. While I think Bush and company went further, whether because of temperament or timing, I also think Obama and company have repeatedly broken at least the spirit of the law with the escalation of the drone wars, expansion of war powers, etc. While I find it outrageous, I also think it’s within the realm of politics, not criminality. When politicians commit crimes to further their petty personal interests, I’m all for locking them up. When they flout the law to enact their preferred policies—especially in the realm of national security—I’m for Congress fighting back and doing their job.

    @Loviatar: Bush and company are politicians, not soldiers. I was all for locking up the miscreants at Abu Ghraib, Haditha, etc. who tortured or otherwise violated the laws of war for their own sadistic pleasure. I’m against criminalizing hard political choices.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    This isn’t the military or military justice, this is politics, a much bigger game with much larger stakes and a time line that could stretch for decades.

    As it is we’re going to eat a really big sh-t sandwich over this internationally and domestically. The greater priority now is limiting the damage done by Bush and Cheney and more. Turning this into a months long saga of indictment, arrest and trial would double the harm done.

    Sorry, but I am not one of those who believes every crime must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. For example, I’d have had the cops avoid a confrontation over selling cigarettes on Staten Island.

    The Bush administration did terrible damage to this country. Prosecuting him would do far greater damage. We are not obligated to commit national self-mutilation in service to the law.

  28. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Because, I can tell you how the narrative will play out. A good half or more of the American people will see it as political pay-back. It will be a Democratic president arresting a Republican president. And when they are tried and a jury finds them not guilty, the force of that narrative will grow, setting off a cycle of revenge: you arrested my president, now I’m going to arrest yours.

    So.

    If Obama personally cured cancer today, half the country would see it as political pay-back over some imagined slight. I’m done being afraid of what the retrograde neo-confederate Republican party is going to get their panties in a twist about tomorrow. I’m going to push for what I know is right; these men ordered horrific acts in my name, even though I never voted once for any of them, they did it in my name. If I sit here and don’t call for their punishment then I’m endorsing their actions.

  29. Loviatar says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m against criminalizing hard political choices.

    And James, this is why I’m frustrated and angry with you. These were not hard choices, I believe you know this, but if you admit it, you then have to admit your part of a party that tortured for no good reason.

    Please tell me, what hard political choices are to be made around the statement the United States doesn’t torture.

  30. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    Additionally, they had legal cover from Yoo and company.

    What, a lackey gave them permission to commit crimes against humanity? As cover goes, that does not even qualify as a fig leaf.

  31. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This isn’t the military or military justice, this is politics, a much bigger game with much larger stakes and a time line that could stretch for decades.

    No, a much, much bigger game called life is being played. You allow men like Bush and Cheney to be above the law, the next go around you’ll get much worse coming out the woodwork.

    ———-

    Turning this into a months long saga of indictment, arrest and trial would double the harm done.

    No, it would show we’re a civilized society and a country of laws. It would show we’re not afraid to make hard political choices.

  32. Scott says:

    The Bush administration did terrible damage to this country. Prosecuting him would do far greater damage. We are not obligated to commit national self-mutilation in service to the law.

    I once believed this but I’m not sure anymore. How often do we have to go to this reasoning and not prevent repeats? It is, in some respects, equivalent to the financial crimes committed in this country that hurt a lot of people. What we are really saying is that some people are too powerful to be held accountable.

    Perhaps we don’t believe in ourselves to withstand the consequences.

  33. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:

    And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    In order to believe that you must ignore the FACT that this cabal had Iraq in their sights long before 9.11. We were going to Iraq from the very moment the SCOTUS handed them the election. And it was never about Nat’l Security. Cheney not evil? That’s rich. He outed a covert operative fer chrisakes. And you defend his abysmal Nat’l Security record? If I were a Republican I would be jettisoning his incompetent butt poste haste.
    I could go along with Michaels suggestion of a pardon…but pardons can be rejected by the grantee..then what does the grantor do? Is their hand forced?

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    [W]hile I frequently and publicly opposed the use of waterboarding, rendition and all the rest, even in the earliest days after 9/11, and even while strongly supporting the Bush administration, I fully understood why the people with the awesome responsibilities of safeguarding the nation in those days might have thought torture was “worth it.” Thus, I’m left in the untenable position of simultaneously believing that the Bush administration acted illegally in many cases and yet not thinking that Bush, Cheney, Yoo and company ought go to jail for these acts.

    What a bizarre and amoral ethical and legal formulation. Allmost everyone who commits a crime does so because they think it’s “worth it”, or at the least they manage to rationalize that to themselvse. We are all the heroes of our own minds. If you think that “because I thought it was worth it” is an excuse for barbarity, you are permitting anyone to do anything without consequence or responsibility.

    Party of personal responsibility, indeed…..

  35. Rafer Janders says:

    @cian:

    I respect very much your honest grappling with this, the most difficult of subjects.

    (A) I don’t respect it at all. It’s nothing more than cheap sophistry, a twisted mental exercise to evade facing up to responsbility, a desperate attempt at rationalization.

    (B) Since when is torture — TORTURE — “the most difficult of subjects”? Now times may have changed, but when I was growing up, there was nothing “difficult” about the issue of “is it legal and moral to inflict appalling and horrifying physical and psychological suffering upon a helpless human being to bend them to your will?” The answer to that question was pretty clearly “No.”

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    Show? Show who? Show the American people – not just Republicans – who will see this as the impeachment of Bill Clinton times ten?

    This would unleash a political crap storm that would dwarf Watergate. This would alter the direction of American politics for decades and instinct tells me neither you nor I would like the change. Let’s be clear: the American people will back Mr. Bush and the CIA. Yes, they will. And the result will be a country more supportive of torture in the future, not less. Add that to the generations of political vengeance and I’m sorry, but no, it’s not worth it.

  37. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    So does every tinpot dictator and tyrant. Saddam, Assad, and Gaddafi, to name just a few, all massacred their own citizens because they believed it was necessary for national security.

  38. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    And they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security.

    “‘No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.’”– United Conventions Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory.

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    But I get why they did it, don’t think they were evil, and don’t think they should be punished.

    “The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.” — Ronald Reagan, Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment or Punishment, May 20, 1988

    James is, quite clearly, calling for the US to flout its own laws. He is defending illegality.

  40. James Joyner says:

    @Loviatar: It’s an easy choice for a military interrogator schooled in the law of war. It’s a hard choice for a commander-in-chief being told by his intelligence experts that it’s essential for getting the information necessary to keep the country safe.

    @Rafer Janders: The equivalence is bullshit. FDR wth Japanese interment, Truman with Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Reagan with Iran Contra and Bush with torture were all making hard choices based on competing values and with the mandate of the public. Tinpot dictators mostly do what they must to preserve power and punish enemies. They’re not similar at all.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    How about bombing civilians, that’s a pretty awful thing, certainly as awful as torture. All during WW2 we dropped bombs of such amazing inaccuracy that they seldom hit their targets but blew hell out of civilians.

    Still, that bombing certainly complicated life for the Nazis and the Japanese. It reduced the number of rounds that could be fired into our soldiers. And we were in a war.

    Pretending that there’s no moral complexity here and that issues are black and white is a mistake. This did not make us the equals of Nazi Germany or Assad’s Syria. It’s bad, it’s very, very bad. But making things worse is not the solution.

  42. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    But there are instances where I think we should merely condemn illegal, immoral, and ineffective actions given the totality of circumstances. This is one of them.

    The mask slips, eh, James? When push comes to shove, you have the morals of a stoat. It’s all about self-preservation and protecting your own tribe, truth, right and the law be damned. That oath to support and defend the Constitution of th United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that you took was just so much hot air to you, wasn’t it?

  43. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Show? Show who? Show the American people – not just Republicans – who will see this as the impeachment of Bill Clinton times ten?

    Yes, show the American people that we can hold even our highest elected officials to account.

    As far as the neo-confederate party; F#UCK EM.

    Quick question, why do you care what these retrogrades think? there is nothing, nothing a democrat can do that will be “right” in their eyes.

  44. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    This would unleash a political crap storm that would dwarf Watergate. This would alter the direction of American politics for decades and instinct tells me neither you nor I would like the change. Let’s be clear: the American people will back Mr. Bush and the CIA. Yes, they will. And the result will be a country more supportive of torture in the future, not less.

    You posted this statement the other day on another threadAmerican torturers. If that phrase doesn’t make you want to throw up then you’ve lost any shred of love for this country. – I responded with

    I realized, I didn’t feel anything, all I did was shrug.

    To answer your statement; the America I loved caught a cold in 1968 got really sick in 1980, went terminal in 2000 and has been flailing on her death bed since. All I’m hoping for now, is that in the future their can be an America for my son to love.

    If what you predict comes through, then that will be the date the America I loved died.

  45. Loviatar says:

    @James Joyner:

    You’re tap dancing, you’re not answering the question.

    What hard political choices are to be made around the statement the United States doesn’t torture.

    It doesn’t take a military interrogator schooled in the law of war to answer that question.

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    I have kids, and I write for kids, so despite being old I’m still invested in the future of this country.

    You are being too dire. Since 1968 enormous gains have been made. Women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights. But all through our history we’ve had a mix of good and bad. You can’t give up when the bad happens, you can only keep pushing for the good. Cynicism and assumed helplessness enables the worst among us.

  47. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: This isn’t at all about tribalism. It’s about my conception of American political leadership, especially in wartime. As noted upthread, I think FDR’s interning the Japanese and Truman’s nuking Hiroshima and Nagasake are bigger war crimes than those committed by Bush. I don’t think they should have been prosecuted, either. For that matter, I think Obama has committed crimes—less than those committed by Bush—with the drone wars. I don’t want him prosecuted, or even impeached.

    Contrariwise, Richard Nixon didn’t kill anybody but his crimes were purely for personal aggrandizedment. He should have been impeached and possibly prosecuted. But he instead resigned and was pardoned. Gerald Ford made a judgment call that that was the best way to get us over the hump. Bill Clinton’s crimes were much more minor than Nixon’s but they were likewise completely for his own sake, not the nation’s. I supported impeachment.

    I think intent matters here, not just black letter law.

  48. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    Truman with Nagasaki and Hiroshima,

    How on earth do you equate this decision with torture? Truman made a decision to drop bombs on Japan to end the war. We had already been bombing them for years, slaughtering hundreds of thousands. The dead do not really care what kind of weapon incinerates them. I don’t think Truman had much of a moral quandary here.

    This was a war crime? I have no idea what you are talking about. This is one of the most remarkable statements you have ever made, and frankly, you sound a bit desperate to rationalize your position on torture.

  49. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I have kids, and I write for kids, so despite being old I’m still invested in the future of this country.

    If the United States officially/semi-officially/after the fact endorses torture then you’re invested in a country, just not the country you and I loved growing up.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    No, sir, I am invested in a work-in-progress. I grew up in the segregated south. If I was going to give up, I’d have given up then.

  51. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: Targeting civilians for killing violates all the laws of war. It’s the most fundamental of all principles of jus in bello that only combatants may be targeted; noncombatants may be killed only incidental to the targeting of combatants and all manner of precautions and calculations of proportionality must be factored in. Mass murder of known innocents is, quite easily in my book, worse than torturing presumed terrorists. Both are immoral and illegal. Both are understandable under the circumstances.

  52. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: And, seriously, my mention here is the first time you’ve heard that the atomic bombings were a subject of moral controversy? Hell, there was a big helluballoo about it with the Smithsonian Institute back in 1995.

  53. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Mass murder of known innocents is, quite easily in my book, worse than torturing presumed terrorists. Both are immoral and illegal. Both are understandable under the circumstances.

    Once again, re the “circumstances” argument:

    “‘No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.’”– United Conventions Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory.

  54. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: I conceded at the outset that the law was violated. The question here is whether to prosecute the violation. We decide that circumstances mitigate against prosecution all the time.

  55. jukeboxgrad says:

    James:

    they honestly believed they were doing what was necessary for the national security

    You are presenting this as if it’s a proven fact, so please tell me how you know.

    What I conclude from the available evidence is that the purpose of torture was to generate false confessions for the purpose of selling the war. Link.

  56. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Growing up in the segregated south I’m surprised you don’t see what allowing these men to escape punishment will do to the arc of this country. In the segregated south one of the biggest tool in the segregationist toolbox was the law. It was used to hold down and disenfranchise minorities while shielding violent murdering segregationist from justice. Only when the law began – still isn’t there – to to be applied equally was the stage set for the civil rights era. You’re now saying we should go backwards, some men should be above the law and shielded from justice even for their most violent and murdering acts.

  57. Loviatar says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I could go along with Michaels suggestion of a pardon

    I’ve seen this suggestion come up pretty routinely now, I’m against it for two reasons.

    We tried it already and it didn’t work. Ford pardoned Nixon for a lot of the reasons mentioned in this thread – end the national nightmare, don’t want to tear the country apart, etc. – what we actually got from the pardon was Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk who saw it as a sign of weakness. These people don’t care about the country, they care about their own self-aggrandisement, what they have though is a modicum of fear and self-preservation, you take away the fear and you unleash the wolf.

    We need an open and independent investigation. I don’t believe we’ve heard everything. The Senate has as much incentive to hide information as the Bush/Cheney crowd. Remember, they were all there from the beginning, they were part of this.

  58. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    And, seriously, my mention here is the first time you’ve heard that the atomic bombings were a subject of moral controversy?

    I read all six volumes of Winston Churchill’s “Second World War” books when I was 12, along with anything on the topic I could get my hands on during subsequent years. so you can skip the condescension. In the house I grew up in, we talked history over breakfast (much to my mother’s dismay)

    Yes, there was moral controversy over the use of nuclear weapons against Japan. That being said, “War Crimes” in regards to Hiroshima and Nagasaki seems to be more or less a fringe left position, yet you have laid claim to it. I find that rather remarkable.

  59. KM says:

    The Bush administration did terrible damage to this country. Prosecuting him would do far greater damage. We are not obligated to commit national self-mutilation in service to the law.

    I’m with Scott on this – I’m no longer of this belief. Too many problems lately are boiling over because we greatly value the status quo rather then doing the right thing. There’s only so much crap you can sweep under the rug before you find yourself tripping over a very uneven surface. We can either handle this now on our terms or we may find ourselves having to deal with it on someone else’s (like the Hague).

  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    I conceded at the outset that the law was violated.

    Nice of you to concede clear and uncontested reality.

    The question here is whether to prosecute the violation.

    “The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called ‘universal jurisdiction.’ Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.” — Ronald Reagan, Message to the Senate Transmitting the Convention Against Torture and Inhuman Treatment or Punishment, May 20, 1988

    We decide that circumstances mitigate against prosecution all the time.

    “‘No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.’”– United Conventions Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory.

  61. Hal_10000 says:

    including that CIA willfully and routinely misled, if not outright lied to, everyone from their own inspector general to the oversight committees of Congress and even the president of the United States—

    This to me, is a key point. I’m starting to agree with what Hitchens said when it came out that the CIA had destroyed the torture tapes: this is mutiny and treason. I think he would have underlined that in marker had he found out that the CIA was spying on Congress as well.

  62. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    The question here is whether to prosecute the violation.

    You know, I’ve read the UN Convention Against Torture, which is the law of the land in the United States, time and time again, and so far I haven’t found the clause that says “you can choose not to prosecute if it makes you feel icky.” Instead I’m only finding the clear and unambiguous language that arrest, prosecution and/or extradition are required:

    Upon being satisfied, after an examination of information available
    to it, that the circumstances so warrant, any State Party in whose territory a
    person alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is
    present shall take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his
    presence…..The State Party in the territory under whose jurisdiction a person
    alleged to have committed any offence referred to in article 4 is found shall
    in the cases contemplated in article 5, if it does not extradite him, submit
    the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.

  63. Davebo says:

    @James Joyner:

    The equivalence is bullshit. FDR wth Japanese interment, Truman with Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Reagan with Iran Contra and Bush with torture were all making hard choices based on competing values and with the mandate of the public.

    Oh really? If that were the case why did the Reagan administration try so hard to cover it up?

  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    James:

    Bush and company are politicians, not soldiers. I was all for locking up the miscreants at Abu Ghraib, Haditha, etc. who tortured or otherwise violated the laws of war for their own sadistic pleasure.

    Consider this statement:

    After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes … The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account … The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture.

    And consider this statement:

    senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques … Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses … The abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own

    11 GOP senators (100% of the GOP senators on the Armed Services Committee) approved the report I just cited.

    More than 10 years ago Wolfowitz (and a lot of other people) tried to blame Abu Ghraib on “a few bad apples.” That lame alibi was decisively discredited by the 2009 Senate report I just cited. Five years later you are ignoring that report and still singing Wolfowitz’s old tune, when you again try to blame the little guy (“the miscreants”) and give a free pass to the “politicians.” Even though the general who investigated Abu Ghraib concluded that “the commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture.” And even though the Senate concluded that “the abuses of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own.”

    This is your value system: the men who gave the orders are excused, while the little guy pays the price. Shame on you.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders: @Loviatar:

    Obviously yes, the language of the treaty is quite clear. And just as obviously we are going to violate that language, and in the process do deep and terrible harm to our standing in the world, to our concepts of the rule of law, and to the world order generally.

    I think we all agree this is a clusterfk of truly epic proportions.

    But I think we should also agree that our goal here has to be the well-being of the United States, the cause of freedom, and the stability of the larger world.

    I do not think those larger goals are served by arresting hundreds of CIA employees, military employees, the former DCI, the former vice-president and president, then running trials that would drag on for years, very likely end up by creating sympathy for the accused, result in the election of a Republican president who would actually run on pardoning all concerned.

    I think you are both letting passion rule reason. I share the passion, but I also believe I can see how this will play out, and neither you nor I will like the end result.

  66. KM says:

    In a sick way, it’s moderates like James who are really getting the short end of the stick on this. The extreme end who feel Bush and Co did nothing wrong, the defenders who trot out a national tragedy as an excuse to drag our morals through the mud, they’re just fine with it all. They don’t care because they think the terrorists deserved what they got, regardless. They’re completely comfortable with the decision and the action – their conscious is clear. Like Gordon Gekko, they’re out and proud: “Torture,for lack of a better word, is good if we do it”.

    For people like James, the cognitive dissonance is clear. Two completely contradictory positions, running back and forth between the two and trying to hold the line. Enough shame and empathy to understand what’s been done, enough sense of history to see why this is a terrible path to take. Politically savvy enough to see disaster on the horizon, motivated to keep the explosion down to a dull roar. Challenged on both sides for being lukewater, unsatisfied with the fact that there’s no real way to resolve this without taking a dishonest, unprincipled stand or letting go of a major issue for the sake of the greater good.

    I don’t envy you, James. It’s a fine rope you dance; take care not to fall from it, friend.

  67. Davebo says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Which is why I believe a presidential pardon for all involved is the least worst solution.

  68. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I do not think those larger goals are served by arresting hundreds of CIA employees, military employees, the former DCI, the former vice-president and president, then running trials that would drag on for years, very likely end up by creating sympathy for the accused, result in the election of a Republican president who would actually run on pardoning all concerned.

    Agree, arresting a slew of underlings will achieve nothing. Anyway, they’re only effective when given cover and support from senior personnel. I would start my arrests with everyone listed on this chart.

    As I’ve said before, lets see what kind of country we are, let the neo-confederate party run on pardoning torturers. I’m more optimistic than you, I don’t they’ll win running on that message.

  69. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    But I think we should also agree that our goal here has to be the well-being of the United States

    OK…but if these people are not punished…what does that say about our system of Justice?
    Issa has spent 6 years harassing everyone and anyone he could for nothing. The wingnuts scream about the rule of law. Yet here we have people admitting to hugely immoral and criminal acts.
    I do not for a minute expect anything to ever happen to these people.
    But I do not believe for a second that is in the best interest of this country.
    This is a very clear cut case of right and wrong.
    Those who did wrong…who admit…no, brag about doing wrong…will not be punished.
    And that’s not right.
    And the country will be weaker for it…not stronger.

  70. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think you are both letting passion rule reason. I share the passion, but I also believe I can see how this will play out, and neither you nor I will like the end result.

    You’re a great writer, don’t slip into acting in an undeserved condescending manner towards your opponent.

  71. Loviatar says:

    @Davebo:

    Which is why I believe a presidential pardon for all involved is the least worst solution.

    Disagree, its actually one of the worst possible solutions.

    We tried it already and it didn’t work. Ford pardoned Nixon for a lot of the reasons mentioned in this thread – end the national nightmare, don’t want to tear the country apart, etc. – what we actually got from the pardon was Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk who saw it as a sign of weakness. These people don’t care about the country, they care about their own self-aggrandisement, what they have though is a modicum of fear and self-preservation, you take away the fear and you unleash the wolf.

    We need an open and independent investigation. I don’t believe we’ve heard everything. The Senate has as much incentive to hide information as the Bush/Cheney crowd. Remember, they were all there from the beginning, they were part of this.

  72. Loviatar says:

    @KM:

    In a sick way, it’s moderates like James who are really getting the short end of the stick on this.

    Why do you call James a moderate?

    If he consistently supports extreme people who do extreme things even though he personally disagrees with them, how can he still be considered a moderate?

  73. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: Yes, the mass murder of civilians is a black letter war crime. That’s not an ambiguous point. The controversy is whether the bombings were justified, not whether they were legal.

    Whether for good or ill, I’m able to hold mutually contradictory views on these things in my head. I both believe that Truman and Bush committed war crimes and yet consider neither Truman nor Bush a war criminal. That is, I think they took actions which were illegal and unnecessary and yet understand why decent men in their positions would have thought them necessary. I simultaneously condemn the decisions as dishonorable while thinking the decisionmakers acted honorably.

  74. Rafer Janders says:

    @Loviatar:

    If he consistently supports extreme people who do extreme things even though he personally disagrees with them, how can he still be considered a moderate?

    Because he’s polite and well-spoken about his rationalization of evil?

    Seriously, as one himself, just be a middle-aged white man in a suit with an advanced degree, and you can say the most twisted, heinous things, and as long as you say them politely, while stroking your chin and nodding sagely and throwing in a lot of “I suppose” and “it remains to be seen” etc., and you’ll always be excused for your inner monstrosity.

  75. Loviatar says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Do it with an English accent and you’ll be feted from Hollywood to the White House.

  76. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I think it way over the top. You’re describing Joyner as monstrous?

    He agrees with you about every aspect of this except what should be done next. He’s tempering moral outrage with realism. Anger, no matter how justifiable, must not in every case be turned into action. No matter how bad the offense, you still have to keep your eye on the goal. Anger is not an end in itself.

    Right now the public is on the bubble on this issue. They can go either way. Make it a vendetta against Mr. Bush and his cronies and you push this issue off the bubble, the opportunity for education is lost, and what we get instead is another political bloodbath. And make no mistake: liberals will lose this fight. You’re like one of those Republicans baying for Bill Clinton’s head, and I’m telling you (as I told them back then) that this is suicidal, counter-productive and while no-doubt principled, is nevertheless a mistake.

    You all need to understand something: the law doesn’t just apply to Bush and Cheney, it applies to everyone down the line. You’re talking about FBI agents fanning out through Langley and through military bases arresting dozens at the minimum, more likely hundreds. Hundreds of trials costing many millions of dollars, lasting months, and paralyzing the politics in this country.

    And for what? So you can count coup on Bush and Cheney? What do you think will be accomplished? You think the world will say, “Good for them?” No, that’s not what the world will say, they’ll be as baffled by the whole exercise as they were by the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

    Domestically this would absolutely poison politics and accomplish nothing. Don’t be a Gingrich looking to oust Clinton. Be smarter than that.

    If a guy shoots you in the shoulder, don’t retaliate by shooting yourself in the head.

  77. anjin-san says:

    @James Joyner:

    understand why decent men in their positions would have thought them necessary

    Bush is a “decent man”? Well, God save us from decent men.

    Here is something for the pro-torture crowd and their enablers.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Letting them get off scot-free also empowers them.
    Those who would torture are free to do it again…for there are no consequences.
    The Bush’s and Cheney’s and Limbaughs and Hannitys and Jenoses and Floracks win .
    And those of us with a moral compass are left shrugging our shoulders and saying, meh.
    It’s inevitable…and it’s fwcking disastrous for this Nation.
    Because none of us are surprised by this. It happened while we watched. We all knew. We knew bad shit was happening. We knew they were destroying the evidence. And we let them. And because of that it will happen again.

  79. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He agrees with you about every aspect of this except what should be done next. He’s tempering moral outrage with realism.

    You still believe James is a moderate Republican of the manner in which you and I and others of a certain age grew up with. No he’s not, he is a modern day neo-confederate Republican in all that that entails. His platitudes to the side, which you label moral outrage, means nothing if his actions are in direct contradiction to the words. His realism as you call it is rationalizing torturers freedom.

    ———-

    And for what? So you can count coup on Bush and Cheney?

    You’re starting to lose me here, up to this point you were wrong, but you could at least make an argument. Now you’re implying motives where none have been given.

    ———-

    What do you think will be accomplished? You think the world will say, “Good for them?” No, that’s not what the world will say, they’ll be as baffled by the whole exercise as they were by the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

    Actually yes. Those that care about the US will say good for them. Those that care about the US will understand that the United States doesn’t torture as part of official/semi-official/after the fact policy. Those that don’t care about the US will at least be put on notice that if the US is so willing to aggressively pursue highly elected domestic violators of UN Convention Against Torture guess what they’ll do against international violators.

    ———-

    Domestically this would absolutely poison politics and accomplish nothing. Don’t be a Gingrich looking to oust Clinton. Be smarter than that.

    Those same words verbatim could have been written by David Brooks. Other than in the most fevered neo-confederate’s mind, how does not condoning torture by pursuing the persons responsible be on par with Gingrich’s vendetta against Clinton.

  80. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    Well, you’ve lost me at the point where you start not-too-obliquely calling Joyner a “neo-confederate.” That’s absolute nonsense. Joyner can silence a couple dozen raging liberals by turning off his comments. His positions on gay rights, civil rights, women’s rights aren’t half a degree away from yours and mine.

    As I’m sure you know, I’m not a shrinking violet when it comes to going after Republicans. And I believe Joyner still has a degree of loyalty to a party I find despicable. But if you toss the less-bad in with the bad you kill any possibility of moving beyond pure partisanship. And in the end, we still have this country to manage. Unless you’re planning some kind of civil war, we still have people to convince and votes to gain. I’m not a suicide bomber, I still want to prevail, not explode in a cloud of passion.

  81. C. Clavin says:

    If I’m Obama I send Seal Team 6 to Wyoming and tell them to a$$-rape and waterboard Cheney and his wife and daughter. (Not the gay one…she suffered enough being his daughter). Eye for an eye biblical shit. Taste of his own medicine.
    Probably a good thing I’m not Obama.

  82. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    His positions on gay rights, civil rights, women’s rights aren’t half a degree away from yours and mine.

    As I’m sure you know, I’m not a shrinking violet when it comes to going after Republicans. And I believe Joyner still has a degree of loyalty to a party I find despicable. But if you toss the less-bad in with the bad you kill any possibility of moving beyond pure partisanship.

    I see comments like this all the time and everytime I ask a form of the question I asked up thread I never get an answer.

    —–

    Why do you call James a moderate?

    If he consistently supports extreme people who do extreme things even though he personally disagrees with them, how can he still be considered a moderate?

  83. KM says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Since the ladies Cheney didn’t actually commit any torture-related crime or really have nothing to do with this other then being That Ass’ Family, I’m going to be generous and assume you’re including them for punishment as a nod to biblical misogynistic overkill instead of your own. Not nice, Clavin. Might be hyperbole but too close to home here.

    **sigh** Perhaps we should step back. There is being right, there is being self-righteous and then there’s being a self-righteous jerk. I get that this is really pushing people’s buttons (me included) but in a thread without the usual suspect trolls, there’s a remarkable amount of acrimony. We can… no, we need to talk about this without emotions taking over – taking advantage of the nation’s emotional rancor was a major reason this was allowed to go through in the first place.

  84. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Unless you’re planning some kind of civil war, we still have people to convince and votes to gain. I’m not a suicide bomber, I still want to prevail, not explode in a cloud of passion.

    Dude, we’re already at war. The other side has been waging this war since before this country was founded, and while their goals are the same, they’ve moved on to using different tactics. They see you and I as the enemy, in their eyes you don’t negotiate or compromise with the enemy. The enemy is to be defeated and destroyed. James is a foot soldier in that war, as much as you would like to believe he is different from the Hannitys and O’Reillys of the world as long as he is supporting the neo-confederate party he is no better than the worst of them.

    —–

    P.S.

    As with you I’m confused why such a highly educated, supposedly intelligent man would continue to support the modern Republican party. However it is his freely made decision to do so, and since he has chosen to do so through some of the worst of its excesses I feel no compunction in calling him a neo-confederate.

  85. KM says:

    @Loviatar:

    If he consistently supports extreme people who do extreme things even though he personally disagrees with them, how can he still be considered a moderate?

    Because suck-up, collaborator or water carrier aren’t nice terms even if they’d applied here and I was trying to be polite? “Politically-confused” isn’t a viable term yet? Moderate was the term I picked because it best fits in the currently used political terminology for someone with cognitive dissonance in their overall stated outlook. He’s actually consistent with the Right’s moderate stance, even if you don’t personally definite it as such. If there is a better word out there, I don’t know it. Again, I clearly don’t agree with his stance at all but James is what the moderate Right in America looks like.

    I’m curious though, what would you label him?

  86. Loviatar says:

    @KM:

    Because suck-up, collaborator or water carrier aren’t nice terms even if they’d applied here and I was trying to be polite? “Politically-confused” isn’t a viable term yet?

    LOL

    —–

    I’m curious though, what would you label him?

    neo-confederate Republican party member.

    There are no longer any moderate Republicans. In my view the American political scene consist of:

    – Republicans

    – moderate/conservative/pragmatic/used to be or would have been Republican but are now considered RINOs so they became Democrats

    – progressive/liberal Democrats

  87. Gustopher says:

    I think it’s a mistake to pardon anyone who hasn’t publicly acknowledged what they have done, and what crimes they have committed.

    For so-called “political” crimes, like the like the torture, and Nixon, I think the right approach might be to grant immunity for their testimony, with the threat of prosecution if they don’t cooperate.

    (And Mr. Joyner is defending torturers, not torture itself…)

  88. C. Clavin says:

    @KM:
    We threatened to rape a guys mother in front of him. That’s what Cheney sowed. Let him reap the results.
    This happened because Democrats are pussies.
    Enough.

  89. C. Clavin says:

    We stood by when the SCOTUS gave them the Presidency.
    We stood by when they allowed 9.11 to happen.
    We stood by while they invaded Iraq for no reason.
    And we stood by while they tortured people.
    It’s Democrats fault for letting them do this shit.
    Time to grow some balls.
    Or watch more of this shit happen.

  90. C. Clavin says:

    Not to mention watching them destroy the middle class.
    And destroy the economy.

    A black kid can’t walk down the street in safety.
    But these guys can rape and kill with impurtanence.

    And we can’t do anything because…politics

    Reynolds is right…nothing we can do…but make sure this shit stops.

  91. Grewgills says:

    @Loviatar:
    You need to take a good hard look at history if you think this is close to the top of the list of the worst things we have done with no consequences to the perpetrators. If this is what puts you over the line, then your sense of proportion is completely miscalibrated. We celebrated (and still do to a great extent) the perpetrators of a genocide greater than the Nazis. We celebrate men who codified fellow humans as 3/5ths of a person, but only to increase the voting power of the people who held them as chattel. We supported an apartheid system as brutal or more than South Africa’s and for much longer. This is terrible, but it doesn’t make the top ten of shameful events in our nation’s past. We need to concentrate on moving forward in a way that is both possible and productive and makes repeating this shameful episode far less likely.

  92. C. Clavin says:

    We let them teach our kids that evolution is a hoax.
    We let them claim science is wrong and they are right.
    We’ve let them do a ridiculous amount of damage in the name of comity.
    ENOUGH!!!!

  93. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:
    It’s not just this…it’s a long train of abuses and usurpations.
    Enough.

  94. Grewgills says:

    @Loviatar:

    let the neo-confederate party run on pardoning torturers. I’m more optimistic than you, I don’t they’ll win running on that message.

    That is not how the issue will be framed in the media or seen by most of America, you would be in for a huge disappointment and the country would be worse for it. As much as I hate to let them get away with it, Michael and James have this right.

  95. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:

    If you think this is close to the top of the list of the worst things we have done

    Fwck no…30 years of supply-side economics is far worse than this.

  96. Grewgills says:

    @C. Clavin:
    What the hell man! You need to step away from the keyboard for a bit.

  97. KM says:

    @C. Clavin:

    That’s what Cheney sowed. Let him reap the results.

    You know what, no. Enough. You are out of line.

    HE wouldn’t reap the results, THEY would. You are treating them as nothing more then a prop for your revenge. As a female, it makes me incredibly uncomfortable that you feel it’s perfectly ok to repeat physical violence and rape threats against an innocent woman for a crime someone working for a man in her family committed under the incredible flimsy logic that you’re making some sort of brave stand of eye-for-an-eye. Cheney didn’t even say that yet you wish it on a random woman unfortunate enough to have him as a father. That is the kind of bullshit logic that ISIS runs on. You aren’t ending comity or standing up for justice or being an iconoclast – you are just doing what they are doing unapologetically. Women are not just there for you to causally invoke as blackmail. It was not ok for the terrorist’s mother, it’s not ok for the Cheneys. Wrong is wrong is WRONG.

    You want Cheney to suffer? At least you have some basis there to argue. But for the crime of threatening an uninvolved woman, you would threaten another causally and with glee. You sir have just lumped yourself in with all the jerks we’ve been debating today. Try to have the morals you are arguing for, ok?

  98. Mikey says:

    I can think of one major reason to oppose putting these guys on trial:

    What if they are acquitted?

    Imagine G. W. Bush marching out of court after the not guilty verdict, a big, gooney smile plastered on his face, walking up to a tree of microphones and starting out with, “Today, the policies I instituted to protect the American people have been vindicated…”

  99. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Richard Nixon didn’t kill anybody

    Except, of course, for the four years he dragged out the Vietnam War.

  100. C. Clavin says:

    @KM:
    You’re too weak to fight these people .
    You will allow them to keep doing what they do.
    They take advantage of your weakness.
    They laugh at you.
    They are home tonight laughing because we won’t touch them.
    Because you’re so sensitive.
    Fwck them. And Fwck theirs.

  101. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    The equivalence is bullshit. FDR wth Japanese interment, Truman with Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Reagan with Iran Contra and Bush with torture were all making hard choices based on competing values and with the mandate of the public.

    Except, of course, for the last two being clearly illegal. People were convicted for their roles in Iran Contra. And getting a bullshit legal opinion from your subordinate after the DOJ told you it was illegal doesn’t get it done.

    Interning Japanese Americans and dropping the bombs were mistakes. They were unnecessary. They were wrong. But given the situation and attitudes at the time, they were also inevitable. Iran Contra and torture were completely voluntary.

  102. KM says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You’re too weak to fight these people .

    Because you’re so sensitive.

    Having consistent morals and ethics makes me “too weak to fight”, Mister Keyboard Warrior? Pointing out jackass you making rape threats = jackass CIA making rape threats is “sensitive”, Mr I’m For Social Justice Only When It Suits Me? Yeah sure, whatever buddy. I’m not the weak one here, all sound and fury with nothing to show for it.

    Go home, Clavin; you’re drunk. At least, I sincerely hope you are cuz otherwise you are just making a complete ass of yourself all over this thread for nothing.

  103. Grewgills says:

    @C. Clavin:
    That sounds an awful lot like the rationalizations of the people you are fighting because they made those same rationalizations. If you are going to argue for universal standards for human rights, you can’t advocate that crap period. There is no weaseling around it, there is no justification for it, it is simply wrong no matter who is doing it. Just stop.

  104. C. Clavin says:

    @KM:
    You’re absolutely right.
    May Mr. Cheney live a long and happy life.

  105. DA says:

    James wants people to believe his position isn’t partisan, while just recently claiming that Obama’s use of prosecutorial discretion on immigration is an impeachable offense. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that conservatives believe in the rule of law, in law-and-order, or in consequences for actions taken. What today’s conservatives, James included, believe in is power for conservatives.

  106. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:
    I’m sorry.
    You guys are all right.
    Let’s just ignore this…it will go away.

  107. James Joyner says:

    @DA:

    James wants people to believe his position isn’t partisan, while just recently claiming that Obama’s use of prosecutorial discretion on immigration is an impeachable offense.

    My position on that was almost identical as my position on this: that, yes, it was an impeachable offense but, no, it doesn’t warrant impeachment. In both cases, I’m frustrated by the flouting of the law. In both cases, though, I think it motivated by legitimate desire to do good for the country rather than personal benefit. In both cases, I think the public would be outraged out criminalizing a political dispute.

    To be clear: I think torture is worse than exceeding the reasonable limits of prosecutorial discretion. I also think protecting the country from terrorism is a better motivation than frustration over a recalcitrant opposition party. But I think the solution either way is political, not criminal.

  108. Loviatar says:

    @Grewgills:

    You need to take a good hard look at history if you think this is close to the top of the list of the worst things we have done with no consequences to the perpetrators. If this is what puts you over the line, then your sense of proportion is completely miscalibrated.

    I never said it was at the top of my list of worst things we done in the history of our country. However it is at the top of my list of worst things we done as a country while I old enough and engaged enough to make known my anger and horror. In my opinion, this is the defining act of my generation. Not 9/11, this, from this point forward America will be known as a rogue state that tortures innocents. Torture will no longer be an aberration, it will have become policy. So yes this has put me over the line.

    What these men have done they’ve done in my name and if I sit here and allow the torture apologist to rationalize away their punishment then by my inaction I am endorsing their torture.

    —–

    We need to concentrate on moving forward in a way that is both possible and productive and makes repeating this shameful episode far less likely.

    For those who say we shouldn’t pursue prosecution, a repeat from another thread.

    You pardon Nixon, you get Reagan.
    You refuse to indict Reagan, you get Bush II.
    I wonder how bad the next guys are going to be now that we’re looking forward not backward on Bush II.

  109. DA says:

    @James Joyner:

    I think the public would be outraged out criminalizing a political dispute

    So much for condemning the torture. Now it’s just a political dispute.

  110. C. Clavin says:

    We should apologize to these people.
    They’re the victims here.

  111. Loviatar says:

    @Gustopher:

    (And Mr. Joyner is defending torturers, not torture itself…)

    Yes, but let me expand on it a little for you; Mr. Joyner is asking that confessed torturers be allowed to go free even though some of them have stated that if given the opportunity they would again torture.

  112. KM says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Thank you.

    I must say, I do agree with you on some of your points. Democrats are terrible at messaging and do concede far more then they should; I’m terribly disappointed in the President for his lack of pushback on a lot of things. This is one of them. While I understand Micheal and James’ hesitance in this matter, I feel there must be some form of legal censure or punishment for this travesty. However, like Hal_10000 pointed out, the CIA is the most culpable here. There’s a place that we really need to clean house; they consistently and blatantly lie to the nation, they engage in illegal and unethical actions completely contrary to what America is supposed to stand for and they do it all from the shadows with no fear of the light. If there are to be arrests, start there. Bush and Cheney will never see the inside of a cell unless the international community gets serious about it but there are others who actually gave the orders we can get.

  113. Grewgills says:

    @C. Clavin:
    There is a hell of a lot of ground between ignore this and wishing anal rape and torture on someone’s family. If you are so far gone you can’t see that anymore you need to take a break from politics until you regain some perspective.

  114. Grewgills says:

    @Loviatar:

    I never said it was at the top of my list of worst things we done in the history of our country. However it is at the top of my list of worst things we done as a country while I old enough and engaged enough to make known my anger and horror.

    You must be young.

  115. M13 says:

    @michael reynolds: No pardons.

    I honestly do not believe President Obama will pardon anyone involved in this… disgrace.

    The Presidency of the United States of America is the highest honor the American people can bestow upon any of her sons and daughters.

    There is no higher honor.

    George W. Bush actions in office has brought disgrace and dishonor to both himself and his country.

    No American, honored by the American people with such an august position and responsibility as President of the United States of America should dare, in word or deed immunize such dishonorable behavior.

    To do so would only bring further dishonor and disgrace upon themselves and their country.

    President Obama has proven himself an honest and wise man and I have no problem accepting his decisions on prosecutions by his administration.

    The disclosure of this program and former Vice President Cheney’s public statements that President George W. Bush not only knew but authorized it leaves no room for doubt or the rewriting of history.

    The responsibility for these actions lay squarely on the head of the man responsible.

    George W. Bush

    As long as he lives and beyond, he will carry the full weight of his disgrace and dishonor.

  116. Tillman says:

    @James Joyner:

    But I think the solution either way is political, not criminal.

    Something neither your nor michael reynolds have acknowledged, in your defense of the path in which we don’t prosecute war criminals, is the reinforcement among my generation and those that follow of the new Golden Rule: “One law for the rulers and another law for the rest.”

    We live in an age of increasing income inequality, to the point that we will within my lifetime revert to pre-World War 2 standards where there is no “middle class” to speak of. Educational and career opportunities are drying up at a rate not seen in the modern age. On top of that, in the path Mr. Joyner and Mr. Reynolds think would be best for the nation, we see that international treaties forbidding a universal taboo in Western civilization can be ignored if it keeps some of “our guys,” because of their right and honorable intentions, from facing any sort of consequence.* Consequences for what can be described in the best possible light as “decent decisionmakers acting honorably.” As long as any evil can be dressed as such, it can be excused without regard to how such excuses will impact the general perception.**

    This assertion, that torture was enabled by “decent men, decisionmakers acting honorably,” is not factual if you read the report. We’re not talking about honorable actions of well-informed decisionmakers; we’re discussing vague decisions given form by underlings with the understanding that they would be excused due to the times. The entire argument you two are putting forth was anticipated, and has been the media talking point of many a torturer and torture defender.

    Let’s put aside all of this quibbling in the present over what the best course is and instead explore the path in which we do nothing, or Obama pardons them. What sort of culture do you expect to come out of this? The history will judge harshly, as is its right, but it will also note that we did nothing. It will simply make the next moral outrage our country faces liable to be responded with non-action. Or do you suggest otherwise? Will we somehow make piecemeal progress on social issues to the extent that we won’t see another moral outrage? Our record so far doesn’t suggest to me that this will ever be the case.

    * The aphorism “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind, though I imagine it has less impact for atheists.
    ** Had you considered this? That later, less moral men will use such defenses to excuse who knows what heinous acts? That these “less moral” men might be the defenders of such now?

  117. Tillman says:

    @Tillman: In other words, I’m saying prosecute them. Our country has had a long run without such upheaval. There is a point at which the old saying rings true: fiat justitia, ruat caelum.

    I can reckon the arguments of maintaining the status quo, of allowing such crimes to go unpunished, and I see many of their virtues. But I also see that the upheaval which might come from prosecution is more likely to leave us stronger, if we can but withstand the chaos of the interval between the decision to prosecute and its outcome.

  118. Tillman says:

    I also think that those advocating for the continuance of the status quo are ignoring the despicable behavior of the CIA in covering up the crime for which they won’t be prosecuted. Lying to their Congressional overseers, spying on their Congressional overseers, waging a public relations campaign to discredit and undermine their Congressional overseers…these behaviors will also go unpunished unless you decide to selectively enforce certain laws. That will certainly keep such behavior from recurring, but it will also send the message that we care more about deception than we do torture.

  119. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:
    Obviously if Joyner takes the stands on gay rights etc.. that I named, he is by definition not some extremist. You’re not being fair, and with non sequitur like “pardon Nixon get Reagan” you’re not making sense.

  120. michael reynolds says:

    @Tillman:
    Don’t lump me in as someone saying these were decent, honorable men. I think they’re scum who have done terrible damage to this country. I’d love to see these creeps arrested and prosecuted. They absolutely deserve to be thrown in prison. I just think prosecuting them compounds the damage.

    You want to get rid of the CIA entirely? I’ve been open to that since they managed to miss the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s an incompetent agency. It blows through billions and misses, apparently, everything.

    The thing that bothers me most, that I think is most dangerous, is CIA bypassing and subverting oversight. That is absolutely intolerable. That’s where I would pass some more draconian legislation to impose direct criminal penalties in cases where the agency deceives or conceals.

    But pushing for prosecution of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney is just the Left’s Clinton impeachment. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger, Danger.

  121. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What is your “line to be crossed”, what is that will make you as Tillman* said: fiat justitia, ruat caelum.

    I’m not being snarky or facetious, I just want to know, for me it was torture, for others it was getting a blowjob and lying to Congress about it, what is it for you?

    —–

    *Thank you for the great phrase, I will continue to use it in the future. One of the few regrets of my public school education was that there was no option to take Latin.

  122. Mikey says:

    @Loviatar: What if they are acquitted? That would vindicate them and legitimize torture. At least now, if we take the less-bad alternative of condemnation without prosecution, we still have condemnation, and torture remains beyond the pale.

    Yeah, it sucks that they’re still walking free, but it is still a better alternative than the awful sundering of the body politic that would occur with prosecution and trial coupled with the risk of vindication through acquittal.

    Perhaps that’s a risk you’re willing to take, in order to show that we are willing to prosecute even a former President, but I can’t support it because IMO the risks far outweigh the benefits.

  123. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    …with non sequitur like “pardon Nixon get Reagan” you’re not making sense.

    Reagan did Iran Contra. I’m not seeing in what way @Loviatar:’s statement isn’t sensible.

  124. C. Clavin says:

    @Grewgills:
    There is a hell of a lot of ground between the two…but we will end up at one of the extremes…ignoring it. And it will happen again because of it. And again. And again.

  125. michael reynolds says:

    @gVOR08:

    Because A did not cause B, A merely preceded B.

  126. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    First, that is a great phrase. I’d heard it before, but it is particularly apt here.

    Second, I wrote something on torture for my audience that sums up I suppose my beliefs on the topic.

    Rape, child molestation, murder of a political opponent, an effort to subvert or overthrow the government, those would leave me no wiggle room for political considerations. But generally I’m not a fan of cutting off my nose to spite my face.

    Now, if the Hague indicts Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney I’ll be happy. If neither man can ever leave the US for fear of being arrested, I’m fine with that. And if either man finds himself in the dock in the Netherlands, I’m fine with that, too. The killing blow just cannot come from POTUS.

  127. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Because A did not cause B, A merely preceded B.

    Strongly disagree.

    The cabal that instituted the torture regime was politically born during Nixon, sucked at the teat during Reagan and reached full adulthood during Bush II. They had a front seat to the illegality committed during the Nixon and Reagan administrations. They were taught during their formative political years that no matter what evil they did if they vague enough with their pronunciations they could escape punishment. The country would be ready to move so that “we could end the national nightmare, we didn’t want to tear the country apart, etc.” I believe if we don’t put the fear of prosecution into the upcoming group of politicians the next horror inflicted upon us by a Republican administration will be much, much worse.

  128. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Rape, child molestation, murder of a political opponent, an effort to subvert or overthrow the government, those would leave me no wiggle room for political considerations. But generally I’m not a fan of cutting off my nose to spite my face.

    I believe what they’ve done with their torture program meets this standard. If we let stand what they’ve done torture will no longer be an aberration, it will have become policy. That to me is subverting the government.

  129. Grewgills says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Really? So if we don’t rape and torture the Cheney family we will completely ignore this and it will happen again? Is that really your stance on this?

  130. munchbox says:

    In one of its last and most partisan acts as a Senate Majority, on Tuesday Democrats released a partisan political report on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program. It is nothing more than a blatant, shameful attack on the men and women who helped protect America in the harrowing days after 9/11.

    Purporting to be a comprehensive study of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, which ran from 2002 to 2009, the report, which cost over $40 million to prepare, calls into question the lawfulness and effectiveness of the CIA program that led to the disruption of active terror plots and the May 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden.
    To summarize, Democrats claim that the CIA misled the White House and Congress about its activities, lied about the intelligence that resulted from enhanced interrogation, treated prisoners worse than they admitted, and purportedly damaged our standing in the world. Obama and his policies have actually damaged our standing in the world.
    None of this is news; the Left has been making these claims for over a decade.
    However, the report fails to note that on many occasions, senior members of both political parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, were briefed by the CIA on the specifics of the program. No Democrats raised objections to the program then. In fact, some pressed the CIA to do more. Only years later, after Bush was out of office and the country secured, did Democrats feign false outrage at what they knew all along was occurring.
    The selective outrage is cowardly and politically opportunistic, like this report. this report was nothing more than a political exercise is clear in view of these two facts. One, the statute of limitations has run on any claims against the interrogators, and they cannot be prosecuted for any actions chronicled in the report. Two, the report offers no recommendations: it is entirely backward looking. It is an exercise in post hoc, hypocritical, self-righteous partisan outrage. Which is to say par for the progressive leftist course. I am not even going to get into most of your idiotic comments that come from the otb lap dogs.

  131. munchbox says:

    In one of its last and most partisan acts as a Senate Majority, on Tuesday Democrats released a partisan political report on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program. It is nothing more than a blatant, shameful attack on the men and women who helped protect America in the harrowing days after 9/11.

    Purporting to be a comprehensive study of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program, which ran from 2002 to 2009, the report, which cost over $40 million to prepare, calls into question the lawfulness and effectiveness of the CIA program that led to the disruption of active terror plots and the May 2011 killing of Osama Bin Laden.
    To summarize, Democrats claim that the CIA misled the White House and Congress about its activities, lied about the intelligence that resulted from enhanced interrogation, treated prisoners worse than they admitted, and purportedly damaged our standing in the world. Obama and his policies have actually damaged our standing in the world.
    None of this is news; the Left has been making these claims for over a decade…
    However, the report fails to note that on many occasions, senior members of both political parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, were briefed by the CIA on the specifics of the program. No Democrats raised objections to the program then. In fact, some pressed the CIA to do more. Only years later, after Bush was out of office and the country secured, did Democrats feign false outrage at what they knew all along was occurring.
    The selective outrage is cowardly and politically opportunistic, like this report. this report was nothing more than a political exercise is clear in view of these two facts. One, the statute of limitations has run on any claims against the interrogators, and they cannot be prosecuted for any actions chronicled in the report. Two, the report offers no recommendations: it is entirely backward looking. It is an exercise in post hoc, hypocritical, self-righteous partisan outrage. Which is to say par for the progressive leftist course. I am not even going to get into most of your idiotic comments that come from the otb lap dogs.

  132. michael reynolds says:

    @munchbox:

    It’s been fun watching the blank stares of people like you, waiting like the brain-dead little drones you are until Fox News and Limbaugh — and in this case a Townhall morons named Brian and Garrett Fahy from whom you cut-and-pasted your allegedly original outrage.

    This report comes out and it’s two days of duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh. . . duuuuuuuuuuuuuh. . . duuuuuuuuuuh. . . until you get your programming downloaded.

    Stupid and a plagiarist. Nice.

  133. jukeboxgrad says:

    the report fails to note

    As Michael pointed out, plagiarism is wrong. Link.

    And your stolen article “fails to note” that the report is packed with proof that Hayden and CIA repeatedly lied to Congress. Link.

    members of both political parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, were briefed by the CIA

    Being “briefed” by liars is worthless. Just like you and your plagiarized article.

  134. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Maybe munch is Brian or Garret Fahey, or maybe he is Brian Garret Fahey.

  135. munchbox says:

    Oh please plagiarized? Didn’t you know this is a blog post? I even postponed my finals this year because of the non indictments in the recent weeks. The good professor also gave me a pass to do a little cut and paste. Link.

  136. michael reynolds says:

    @munchbox:
    When you cut and paste you identify the source. You were passing it off as your own work, and now you’re rationalizing, so yes, you’re plagiarizing.

  137. jukeboxgrad says:

    Oh please plagiarized? Didn’t you know this is a blog post?

    Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty, and dishonesty is wrong, even in “a blog post.” Thanks for proving you don’t know this, but we already knew this about you.

  138. Eric Florack says:

    The people who should be prosecuted are the people who are responsible for this abomination of a report. Let’s face it, this is scorched earth policy on the part of the democrat party. I see this much the same as I view the Nazis blowing up their own installations and killing their own people as they retreat.

    I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for terrorists, regardless of what we do to them. I don’t care if they were tortured, because of what they did to us. If it gathers information on stopping it from happening, stopping that movement from growing, so be it, all the better.

    I have even less sympathy for their enablers in our own government regardless of party.

  139. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Of course you like torture. None of us ever thought different. Did you think any of us ever bought your “small government” bull?

    You’re a fascist. I’ve known from the start that’s what you were, we all know, Eric. You’re a nasty little man with no power or influence or particular importance in the world who desperately craves significance. Classic fascist.

  140. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t care if they were tortured

    Which means you don’t care about the rule of law. You’re a fascist, just like Michael said.

  141. munchbox says:

    I actually read it here…since you seem to care so much….and it sums up this report perfectly.

    http://www.hughhewitt.com/

    and get over yourselves… Mike probably has a little more skin in the game on the issue because he is supposedly a writer of some kind. But i suspect he sticks to children’s stories because that what he is good at stories. Most adults see thru his bullchit except you folks, you love to wallow in the filth that comes out of his turd sucking mouth.

    and remember if it isn’t like this stuff its hardly torture..http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=14405

  142. michael reynolds says:

    @munchbox:

    You know how I knew you’d plagiarized the piece? It wasn’t because I’d read it elsewhere, it was because I know a cut and paste job when I see one. I’d read enough of you to know even that crapola was too well-written to be yours. As stupid as it was, I knew it was too smart to be yours. It was as if you were a dull fourth-grader plagiarizing from one of the less-promising sixth-graders. One glance – didn’t have to read more than a sentence – before I knew. Then a quick Googling of text and ta-da!

    Here’s why no one, but no one, is letting you off the hook: you’re not expressing an opinion, you’re just regurgitating. We’re all having a conversation, and you’re puking up your breakfast and thinking you’ve impressed someone.

    I don’t know why you want to be that guy, I really don’t. If you have a genuine interest in politics, why don’t you try a different path: open your mind, free yourself of your ingrained prejudices and assumptions, get an education. You’ll be so much happier in the long run.

  143. munchbox says:

    Lol youre funny. All I could think of was the south park episode were the turds slide out of their mouths’
    when I read that. 😉

    You write humor?

    We’re all having a conversation, and you’re puking up your breakfast and thinking you’ve impressed someone.

    I think you mean engaging in group think…

    Don’t you not to feed the bridge dwelling troll?

  144. Grewgills says:

    Don’t you not to feed the bridge dwelling troll?

    At least he’s (she’s?) somewhat self aware.