This is the claim of the left without any proof. Intelligence
work, by its nature, is imprecise. Evidently, not only did Bush
cover up, so did Blair, Burlosconi, and Putin. It was a a giant
conspiracy I tell you, run from within the CIA. Tin Foil Hats ...ON!
Who gives a rats ass what they think? Bush's biggest mistake
was caring about the fate of the nations involved at all.
The purpose of war to crush threat. Iran/Iraq/Syria with
nukes is an unacceptable level of threat. Savage their
economies and infrastructures and leave with a promise
to do it again and again until they act nice. They
don't like us. Who cares? Muslims hate Christians and
Jews (and other Muslims). Who cares? Our purpose should
be do defend our country and our interests, not try and
build democracies where none are possible. We should accept
that the bulk of the Islamic world is inhabited by tribal
savages and quit trying to rehabilitate them. We should
merely make it too painful for them to mess with the West.
And THAT is Bush's failing. His stubborn insistence that
we have to stay and fix what's been broke for 1500 years.
Or ... was it really Bush? Could it have been the whiny
State Department full of career bureaucrats hollering
"You broke it, now you have to buy it." I can't tell
who was stupider here, the administration or the State
Department, but they were dead wrong. We did NOT break
anything, and thus owe the people of these lands a single
thing. Let Iraq break out into civil war right after
we're done polishing off Iran. Leave their military,
their infrastructure, their water supplies, and their
telecommunications systems as smoldering slagpiles
and walk away. Game, set, match.
Where did he do that? AFAIK, he stuck to - barely - the ones
which we've actually signed.
They managed to work to crack some of the top level Al Queda thugs
pretty quickly ... or is the military in on the vast conspiracy
as well and lying about this too?
In Viet Nam, those techniques were used on people who wore the
uniforms of an identifiable military. That means they were entitled to
certain protections under international law. In this case, the
subjects were people making war while hiding in civilian clothing -
and they have almost NO protection under international laws. Fred will
jump in here and claim otherwise, but he's wrong and exhibits wishful
thinking on the matter. If you make war in plain clothing, you
have the same legal status of a spy ... i.e., Almost none.
Your captors are free to do almost anything they want including
waterboarding you or making you listen to Sean Penn speeches.
You will also note that Al Queda is not a signatory to the
Geneva Conventions and cannot thus make claims upon them.
You will further note that while we made people uncomfortable
and shoved them around and humiliated them, their fellow
combatants beheaded people in the most horrible possible way.
There is no moral equivalence here, it is anti-war left wing
fiction and propaganda.
Sometimes, where there is immediate need to do so and then only
under some kind of US military or civilian judge's supervision.
You must be kidding. Bush has merely applied that oh so sophisticated
notion of "A Living Constitution" to suit these times. That *is*
what the left engineered starting with FDR, their patron saint.
Now a nominal rightwinger gets in (he is no such thing actually),
and merely applies the same principle of a malleable Constitution
to suit *these* times. The left should be thrilled. He's doing
what they've done for decades before he was ever on the scene.
Permited legally under FISA (which precedes him) but unworkable
because of the sheer volume of paperwork involved. Did the Dems
offer to step in and help to make it work better for the good of
the country? No. They were too busy blaming Bush for the world's
sins and teeing up their next election.
A huge failing on W's part. Thanks to the Hamdi suit, SCOTUS
fixed this. The system worked ultimately.
Nonsense. The government can't ask for cooperation on the one hand
and then prosecute with the other. This was proper. If there was
any sin here (and there probably wasn't much of one), it should
be addressed by the DOJ, not the individual carriers.
No different than Obama's pals here in Chicago being investigated
for quite some time before *they* knew anything about it. This
is called "crime investigation". An investigation does not make
you guilty and the policeman or government agency doing it has no
legal obligation to inform you of it ahead of time.
You should go read the history of the FDR administration. He made
Bush look like a piker. No president since Andrew Jackson had more
overt contempt for rule-of-law and the Constitution than FDR.
Yet the left worships the man but hates guys like Bush who are
merely using the same techniques in somewhat different ways.
An utterly bogus observation. I don't care if he worship purple
frogs on yogurt. That is not germane to his governance or lack thereof.
You watch, in a few years the real depth of the threat coming from
Iran especially is going to become evident, and it will have been
Bush that took the steps to quiet it before it completely flared out
of control. Either we do it or the Israelis will. Which would you
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
My favorite has always been Foghorn Leghorn's:
"The boy's about as sharp as a bowling ball."
I do not direct this directly at tim - for brutus is an honorable man.
(this is not ad hominem - i swear)
Here's a hint, Colin Powell resigned after four years as
Secretary of State because he had been ignored for
the last three of Bush's first term. The last major foreign
policy decision for which Bush decided to follow Powell's
advice instead of Rumsfield and Cheney was the decision
to mount an offensive against al Queda and the Taliban
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson,
disagrees with you, as does the USSC. So do I.
You've also made it clear that you don't want torture to
be illegal or to violate treaties. Its pretty clear that you
want people to be tortured. You read laws and treaties
(if you bother to read them at all) the way Clinton listens
to questions during a deposition, seeking someway to
misconstrue it to mean what you want.
Your evidence for this is what, exactly, Kalid sheik
Mohammed's admission that he, not Osama bin Laden
was the mastermind behind the attacks of September 11,
I seem to remember the argument being made that the
Geneva Conventions did not apply to a civil war and that
persons who attacked civilians forfeited their protections.
I don't accept that, but is sounds a lot like a position you
What competent court or tribunal determined
that any person held at Guantanamo bay, in fact,
made war in civilian clothing?
Or are you arguing that
the rules and regulations governing captures on land and sea
and regulating the Armed Forces, passed by the Congress and
signed into law by the President of the United States aren't
REAL laws, just some sort of general suggestions?
If a person who is hors de combat due to captivity,
and who is denied status as a protected person none-
the-less claims that status, that is a matter to be
decided by a competent court or tribunal. The US
military had a tried and true procedure for doing just
that and it probably would have been a pretty simple,
and entirely uncontroversial matter. There was no
excuse for abandoning that tried and true procedure.
US law has required that spies be tried before execution
since the Continental Congress passed the First US
Articles of War.
"Spies may not be punished without
trial." is one of the articles of the 1907 Hague conventions.
It would be difficult, at best, to mistreat a prisoner without
violating the common criminal provisions of the UCMJ
which, as you know, (e.g. the trial of the civilian spouse of
a US soldier for a crime allegedly committed in Germany)
apply to American civilians on US military bases abroad.
UNCATS prohibits torture, inhumane or degrading treatment
I had been misled by many sources who claimed that the
US took exception to the minimal due process requirements
for spies and sabotouers in the GCs. Not so. The US
takes exception to certain restrictions on the applicability
of the death penalty, and (IIRC) to certain obligations to
allies and cobelligerents.
For UNCATS and most recent
treaties the US takes exception to any restrictions on the
applicability of the death penalty and to any provision that
is determined by the Federal Courts to be in conflict with
a provision of the Constitution.
Breathe control torture plainly violates UNCATS, and if
committed on an US military base, federal
Claims that it is legal to commit crimes against someone
because he is a bad person, are no longer persuasive
in any US court, nor should they be.
While al Queda is not, most of the people accused
of being part of al Queda are nationals of states that
are. Further, inasmuchas a state of war does not
exist between those nations and the United States
if they commit a belligerent act they commit a crime
whether they are in uniform or not.
That of course, was never at issue. At issue was
the suspension of the normal process used by the US
military to determine if a person is a combatant, and
if so, lawful or unlawful.
As well as the claim
claim by the President and Commander-in-Chief that
he had authority to create courts, make the laws those
courts would enforce, their rules of evidence and procedure,
appoint the judges, the prosecutors and the defense
attorneys, and to direct their actions, and that the Congress,
to whom the plain language of the Constitution grants
the sole authority to do those things, has no say in
Why should we note that? And if we should, why do you not
note the prisoners tortured to death in Bahgram prison? Does
their mistreatment mitigate the murder of Daniel Perle?
If you are not arguing moral equivalence, what is your
Surely you gest. His supporters claim that he is
applying the plain language of the constitution, though
somehow I doubt that they have ever read it, or at most
read nothing but Article II.
Whom even the now infamous Reverand Wright denounces...
ISTR that only one, or at most two democrats were notified,
at a classified meeting so that they were not permitted to
discuss the matter after leaving the room.
It would be easy to forgive the Bush administration for missing
the deadline to notify the FISA of warrantless wiretaps were
it not for two considerations.
One, the Bush administration wrote the law extending that
deadline from 24 hours to 72. If they needed more time
or needed to expand the court to handle the workload
they could have written that in too. It's not like anybody
in the Congress actually read the Patriot Act before
they voted on it.
They never even submitted late notifications.
That would make sense were the government not asking
for cooperation in the commission of a crime.
Like what, exactly?
Whoever gets the job done best.
I freely admit that people have walked the Earth who are
worse than GWB.
I would like to set the standard for President a bit
higher than "better than the worse person who ever
If this is so cut and dried, why has he not been brought
up on appropriate charges? He was dead wrong on Hamdi
and the appropriate legal steps were taken. If you're
clearly right, then similar steps should obviously
work here as well, shouldn't they?
No. I disagree that all forms of coercion constitute
a prima facia case of "torture", and reasonable people
can disagree here.
Thereby demonstrating the efficacy of the technique, no?
You cannot, on the one hand, cling to a strict interpretation
of the GCs (that is not universally held within the international
legal community) and on the other pick and choose when they
apply. There are, as you well know, different categories
of protections offered to different classes of persons in the
GC. Plain clothes combatants have almost no such protections
therein. Wishing it were so doesn't make it that way.
Presumably, the military tribunals held there wherein
the accused had legal representation. Or is it your
position that the entire JAG core is utterly corrupt
and the tribunal process completely compromised such
that these were all show trials? The lack of public
transparency in trials of (alleged) foreign combatants
does not instantly mean that the process is bogus.
Having known a great many military folks over the years,
my view is that the odds are that these trials were
likely conducted to very high ethical standards.
They are real. But just to *which* rules do you refer.
The GCs do not materially protect non-uniformed combatants.
There is likely policy and procedure in place for the
military lawyers involved, but that is not some international
and immutable standard that supercedes the GCs here to the
best of my knowledge.
Just where do you get the idea that a fair discovery
as to the status of the captured was NOT conducted?
Just because they didn't do it on Judge Judy doesn't
mean it did not happen. Again, you are at least
implying that the military tribunal process was entirely
compromised. I'd like see evidence of that please.
And I am fine with that. It is my belief - a belief
rooted not in observable fact, since the process was
not public, but rooted in a confidence in the professionalism
and ethics of our military - that exactly this took place.
All we have to do is come up with a universal definition
for "torture". You may know that those who defend it
as an intelligence gathering mechanism argue that it is
NOT inherently torture, though everyone agrees it has
the capacity to be abused.
I rather think this is not so cut and dried. If it is,
the participants should be tried, found guilty, and
sentenced. Wanna take any bets as to whether, say,
Obama will take any such action? I rather doubt it.
No they shouldn't but that's not the discussion here.
The discussion is to what degree particular classes
of combatants can make legal claims upon international
treaty and US policy.
Their belligerent acts were carried out on behalf of
Al Queda. Moreover, their wearing a uniform or not
is fundamental to their class before the law.
Say I went to Africa to fight as a mercenary,
wearing a suit and tie, posing as a health worker.
If I started killing innocents to create an act
of terror, would the GCs, US civil law, or other
international laws protect me from being treated
as a spy? I think not.
You keep saying this, but I see no evidence of it.
I see people swept up in the course of combat,
status to be determined later, granted legal
counsel (it is claimed, I cannot confirm) to
stand before a military tribunal.
All true but missing a critical detail. With the advent
of FDR's "making it up as you go along" approach to
Constitutional law, there is ample precedent for Bush's
claim. I'm not claiming Bush made all the right calls
here. I am claiming he is within his executive privilege
*as granted by precedent*. You don't like it? Fine.
I'm not actually crazy about it myself. But the only
way to unwind it would be to get the government and
the nation at large to go back to a strict interpretation
of the Constitution. As I have said over and over,
you cannot reasonably expect Bush to avoid using the
"flexibility" of a "Living Constitution" when all his
political foes favor this when power is in their hands.
Clearly wrong, and last I checked, the perpetrators were
being tried and convicted in (gasp!) military courts.
If you think that any system that is not perfect is not
workable at all, you are sadly mistaken. The system,
however imperfect, has safeguards and remedies and these
seem to be working.
Of course not.
My point is that sensible analysis considers not just the
act, but the degree of malfeasance. Yes, a very few
US military behaved wrongly in a number of cases. But
the enemy acts badly pretty much at every opportunity.
I thing we've shown considerable restraint and maturity
in our response on the whole. I can say this without
excusing the horrific acts you describe.
The more I think about this, the more I may come to see it your
way. It certainly makes me morally queasy. Not so much because
we are extracting information by force (though that is part of
the problem) but moreso because of the kind of human sewage
with whom we have to make common cause to pull this off.
For the moment, my view on this is that there are two
choices here - Bad: Do nothing thereby failing to use
every tool to thwart people who wish to murder non combatants,
or Really Bad: Make common cause with thugs and tyrants.
*Everyone* who bends the Constitution to suit "these times"
claims they are applying a plain reading. Bush is merely
the last in a long lineage of such people.
But not for the aforementioned reason.
There is a Senate Intelligence Committee last I looked.
If even just one of them were involved, you're suggesting
they could not have quietly suggested that - for
reasons they could not discuss - FISA process needed
to be revisited?
And even I have real heartburn about this. It's
unconscionable and one of the reasons that the
Republicans do not deserve the White House next time.
What crime exactly was being committed?
My guess - and that's all it is, though it seems consistent
with what is released to the public - is that Iran is well on
the way to nuclear delivery capability and that the only
thing that will give them real pause on this is to feel
serious threat from someone ... us, for example.
I would prefer it not be the Israelis. This will have
all manner of sideshow issues and make a nasty problem
He is nowhere near as bad as you paint him. He is - at worse -
the Republican incarnation of FDR - make up the rules
as you go, push the limits of executive power, ignore
the noise, and win the war.
Tim Daneliuk email@example.com
He was also dead wrong regarding his ad hoc
tribunals. As you know, they were struck down
by the USSC which held that they violated
common article 3 of the 1949 GCs and the
UCMJ. That does prove my point, right?
This administration has relied on the most
transparent of stalling tactics to keep those
steps from being taken. For instance, Padilla
was transferred from one Federal District to
another, mooting his habeas petition and forcing
his attorneys to refile in the new district. Other
appelants were released after being granted
certitori by the USSC depriving the court of the
opportunity to rule on the vital matters of law
that were in contention.
That the administration
was afraid to plead its case before the USSC
is a pretty good indicator that it knew it was
In 2006, the administration finally allowed a case
challenging the jurisdiction of the Bush ad hoc
tribunals to reach the USSC. Of course they were
stuck down and the administration demanded, on
the eve of the 2006 election, that the Congress
immediately authorize new tribunals, claiming
that any delay, say for example, to after the election,
would jeopardize national security.
The Congress complied. The tribunals established
by the Military Comissions Act of 2006, have jurisdiction
to try unlawful combatants.
AFAIK the efficacy of torture to obtain confessions
has never been in dispute. Indeed, it as effective on
the innocent as it is on the guilty.
Yet you insist on doing so.
And yet, unless I am very much mistaken, you were perfectly
happy when the President forbade the military from determining
if their prisoners were plain clothes combatants.
President Bush forbade the military from conducting
those tribunals and forbade the courts-martial from
trying them the persons in question. That is precisely
The JAG had nothing to do with Bush's ad hoc
Further, to WHAT trials do you refer? Bush's ad hoc
courts were struck down in 2006 without ever having
conducted a trial.
You just make this up as you go along, don't you?
But since you mentioned the JAG, consider that five
of the six judge advocates general singed a public
letter urging the Congress to NOT pass the Military
Commissions Act of 2006 (which was substantively
identical, in most respects to the President;'s executive
order) and all six spoke against it before the Congress.
Again, to what trials do you refer? Please name a
defendant, provide a date, something.
WTF? The courts in question were struck down in
2006 without ever conducting a single trial.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Courts have tried about a
hundred persons for 'terrorism' related crimes with
a sustained conviction rate approaching 80%.
The provisions of the UCMJ to the effect that the proper status
of a prisoner who disputes his status be determined by
a competent court or tribunal.
You argue that because a person engaged in an act
that disentitled them to the protections of the GCs, they
are not entitled to a proper hearing to determine if they
engaged in an act that disentitles them to the protections
of the GCs.
Do you understand the relevant definition of 'competent'?
No, I never implied anything of the sort. I have made it
quite clear time and time again that the tribunals were
not competent and the USSC agreed when if struck
them down in 2006.
I don't give a rat's ass what you would like to see.
I will only provide evidence to support my argument.
I repeat it again now. The president and commander
in chief did not have the authority to establish military
tribunals not authorized by the Congress. My evidence
is that the USC struck down those tribunals in 2006.
Please name of a person whom you believe was executed
after trial during the present administration.
If I understand the English language correctly, the
antecedent of 'it' is 'torture'.
So the statement above is logically:
"You may know that those who defend torture
as an intelligence gathering mechanism argue that
torture is NOT inherently torture, though everyone
agrees torture has the capacity to be abused."
Which I agree is exactly the sort of thing we have
come to expect from the Bush administration.
By whom, the people who ordered the crime in the
Nonsense. That is precisely your argument. If the
government were to subject you to exactly the same
treatment as Khalid Sheik Mohammed there is no
question that you would believe you had been assaulted.
The ONLY reason you argue that KSM was not assaulted
is because you believe he deserved it. Whether or not
the victim of an assault deserved it, is not a defense.
Wrong. That was discussed near the top of this
article. The issue down here is whether or not
the legal standing of the victim is a defense in
an assault prosecution. The UCMJ enumerates
the allowed defenses. That the victim was not
entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions
is not among the enumerated offenses.
Were you to wear a uniform and carry arms
openly while killing innocents to create an act
of terror, would the GCs, US civil law, or other
international laws protect you from being treated
as a war criminal? I think not.
To disguise yourself might be an act of perfidy,
and an offense in and of itself, but one that
pales in comparison to the other crimes
committed, and completely irrelevent to the
issue of whether or not you could be prosecuted
and punished for those other crimes, don't you
But that has never been the point of contention
between us. The issue in dispute has always
been the process (again a term of art) to be
employed to determine IF you committed any
You have never seen evidence that Bush did not
allow prisoners at Guantanamo bay to be prosecuted
in the Federal Courts or the military courts-martial,
(e.g. the normal process) and instead created his own
ad-hoc courts for that purpose?
Not surprising, since you claim to have
seen trials and even executions that no
one else has.
Padilla's case made it all the way to the USSC,
without his counsel ever being permitted to
communicate with him. Hamdan was permitted
to meet with his council only once, and then
only because his defense attorney had been
ordered to negotiate a guilty plea. That kind
of stretches the definition of 'granting legal
Sure, so long as you ignore the repeal of the Articles of
War in 1949.
Your claim is meritless because it contradicts the plain
language of the Constitution. Or is it your argument that
the President retains the authority delegated to him by
Federal Law, even after that law is repealed?
None of this has anything to do with any living constitution
argument.. The argument advanced by the administration is
the "unitary president" theory, which holds that the President
is not bound in his official acts, by federal law. To my
knowledge no proponent of this theory makes any claim
of the sort you suggest. They argue that they are
returning to the true meaning of the constitution. IOW, they
claim to be doing exactly what you say you want them
Further, what I may or may not expect the President to
does not absolve me of my responsibility to demand that
he respect the rule of law.
What is clearly wrong?
Willy Brandt received the harshest sentence at trial,
a few months confinement and a reduction in pay. It
is my understanding that since then, his sentence
has been reduced to honorable discharge.
Then why introduce his murder into the discussion?
The light sentences handed out to (some) the murderers
at Bahgram, when contrasted with the much harsher
sentences handed out to those convicted of less serious
offenses at Abu Ghraib leads me to suspect the former
acts were condoned, if not ordered, by higher authority
while the latter were not. Contrast also the disciplinary
action taken against the commanding officer at Abu Ghraib
with the inaction at Bahgram.
Again, inasmuchas the horrific acts committed by the
enemy were not in dispute, nor even under discussion,
why introduce them?
False dichotomy. To refrain from torture does not require
that one do nothing.
One merely needs to consider the history of lynching
(the real history, not the Hollywood version) in this
country to understand the dangers.
No, many, if not most who bend the Constitution to suit
"these times" DO advance some sort of living Constitution
Unauthorized circumspective discussion of national
security matters is impermissible for obvious reasons.
Further, I don't think you can come up with any credible
scenario where in the needed changes could be introduced
or discussed without making it obvious as to what was
discussed behind those closed doors.
But as you know, the Congress did pass exactly the
legislation requested by the administration on this
point. To hold the Congress to blame for its inadequacy
Well then you agree that what GWB did was wrong. That was
the point being made.
Allow me to rephrase. Like what steps, exactly, has
Bush taken to quiet the Iranian threat?
As I pointed out above, FDR had some authority under the
Articles of War that was substantially diminished when they
were replaced with the UCMJ. It is particularly important to
note that a, if not the, primary justification for the change was
concern for potential abuse under the precedent law.
To suggest an equivalency between the current situation
and the Great Depression and World War two betrays a
complete lack of perspective.
Even though I recognize that enormous difference in exigency,
I still condemn FDR for some of his actions. Consequently
I cannot reasonably decline to condemn Bush for like sins.
Not fully. It proves that the Bush administration
interpreted precedent and current conditions to
grant them power they actually did not have.
They were slapped down by SCOTUS. The system
*worked*. This is a far cry from the larger
complaint voiced here repeatedly that Bush
is some kind of civil liberties monster.
I freely admit that I find these shenanigans
repugnant. Note that I have never held the Bush
administration up as some paragon of good works,
merely that you critics are vastly overstating
things in the level of malice attributed to it.
Hmm, I don't recall him doing so. Do tell. I do recall
the claim that tribunals were being held in secret and
such determinations were being made.
I do not recall this and may well be wrong. But I was
under the impression that the claim was that there
WERE such trials to determine the standings of those
in GTMO, for example, but that they were held in secret
for "security reasons". "Security reasons", BTW, was
the first wail of complaint I heard from the loudest
Bush critics because they maintained he could not be
trusted to actually do this.
I can't because they were (it is claimed) done in secret. Ordinarily,
this would outrage me. But given that the people in GTMO weren't
snatched off the street in Detroit, but in the middle of a battlezone
in a foreign country, I was (and for the moment am) content to believe
in the essential fairness and professionalism of the military to deal
with what is a military, not civil matter.
If/when this is inarguably demonstrated to be false and all your
claims confirmed, the administration officials who participated in this
should be tried and sentenced as is appropriate. You make a great
case, but I question just how valid it is. Not because I think you are
lying, but because things are rarely this clear cut. When they are,
(say like Hamdi) the courts swiftly address this. Moreover, given the
vitriolic hatred so many on the left have for Bush, how is it that -
in the presence of such abundant evidence of malfeasance - no charges
have been mounted against him by his many enemies? Clinton was
humiliated in a sham impeachment for far, far less. Surely the
left wants payback. With the kind of inarguable "facts" you
claim, they should be foaming at the mouth to get it.
Not at all. I think I have made it pretty clear: Status should
be determined, and once found to be non-uniformed combatants,
we should do whatever we wish within the bounds of the GCs
to which we are signatory.
Same point: I am not privy to secret proceedings. I either
trust that they were conducted properly, not at all, or
that my government is utterly corrupt. But as I keep
saying, your claim for abundant evidence for the latter
should be yielding large and loud suits against the President
and this administration. Where are they?
OK, my grammar was compromised. I'll say it correctly.
Many who defend *interrogation techniques* like waterboarding
argue it is not inherently torture, though everyone agrees
these techniques can be abused. Better?
I shall endevour to not torture the language in the future.
OK, here's the UNCATS language to which we are signatory:
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining
from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him
for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of
having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person,
or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain
or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the
consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in
an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising
only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
Guess what? It's not "plain" at all. Just when do we move from
discomfort to pain to "severe" pain? What constitutes "suffering"? For
me, that would involve having to watch TV for more than 5 minutes.
Does playing loud, obnoxious noise - say Rap - constitute
torture? How about a forced Rosie O'Donnell film festival?
Everyone's threshold for pain is different. Yes, I'm splitting
hairs, but I'm doing so to make a point. The defenders of
waterboarding argue that it is both effective, and does not
cause "severe". Moreover, if we take the sort of simplistic
"plain" reading you favor, then injecting someone with drugs
that cause no pain but make them spill all they know would be
OK, right? My point is that these kinds of things are matter
both of conscience AND of judgment. You judge waterboarding
to be torture. A good many other people do not. That doesn't
make them immoral monsters (the implicit claim laid at the feet
of the Bushies), it illustrates a difference of opinion.
In short, your claim of "plain" meaning is bogus.
No, by the checks and balances built into our adversarial
political and judicial system.
Any president, faced with the enormous task at hand,
would have to make calls about just how far we could
and should go. I have little doubt that Bush's
polar opposites politically might be different in
small ways tactically, but they'd have done much
the same thing. More to the point, will the next
president, if they are a Democrat, bring charges
against Bush, pardon him of all wrongdoing (thereby
damning his legacy w/o an actual legal battle), or
remain silent on his decisions once they see the
full scope of what is going on in the world of
bad guys? I'd bet on the latter.
I am a citizen and participant in our legal/social
contract. I am entitled to far higher levels of
representation and redress because of that status.
No, I argue that waterboarding, conducted properly
is not inherently torture. I trust that the people
doing it have both a moral conscience and oversight.
If I'm wrong about any of that, I want the people
responsible for doing it brought to justice.
You're avoiding the question. Does purposely not
wearing a uniform and making war on civilians
change my standing before international or domestic
US law? I say it does, you want to pretend that's
not the issue.
No, or not as you've stated. It fundamentally
effects just *how* I may be treated during my
prosecutions and to what legal protections
I am entitled. That's why you can summarily
execute spies found guilty, but not uniformed
Which I agree should take place. My government
tells me is has taken place. (Except in obvious
examples like Hamdi.) You claim otherwise.
Make your case in a court, get the president
impeached or jailed. You'll be an instant
I claim that from FDR forward there has been a large amount of "gray"
injected into the role of the Presidency viz the Legislature as each
as chosen to interpret the Constitution as a moving target. My proof
of this is that - even after all the "sins" you enumerate above - no
one has managed to show Bush to have materially broken any laws, at least
not the level of impeachability or other serious sanction. Why?
Because the moving target Constitution theory makes *all* law open to
interpretation. He is doing nothing more than walking in FDR's,
Kennedy's, Johnson's, Nixon's ... footsteps. Bad? Surely. But
unremarkable given that the nation and its government long ago
abandoned their own laws.
You keep trying to read my comments as a defense of Bush. You should
be reading them as a commentary about the inevitable outcome of
ignoring the rules set forth in the Constitution long ago. I'm not
happy with this administration. I just see great irony in the foaming
directed at it my a good many people who are otherwise just fine with
the "lets make up the Constitution as we go" line of thinking. I am
responding more to them than I ever was or am defending Bush who has
been a crushing disappointment on almost every front. The only place I
did and do agree with him, was the necessity of interdicting in the
ME. Then he screwed up and *stayed*.
You're dead wrong. A nation welded to the clear meaning
and limits imposed by a strict reading of the Constitution
would never have allowed an environment to flourish where
arguments like "unitary presidency" could have even seen
the light of day. You are in pain because of the outcomes.
I am in pain because of the root cause.
But as I keep pointing out over and over, there is NO rule
of law. It's become a moving target. That's, for example,
how both the right and left ignore border protection.
It's how you get people trying to make gay marriage
illegal. It's how you get people trying to make handguns
illegal. And, yes, it's how you get unfettered arrogance
of power in both the Executive AND Legislative branches.
It was clearly wrong to torture prisoners to death.
As I am unfamiliar with the details, I shall defer to
you on this one.
I have rethought this statement of mine, and wish to
retract it. The system is working, but poorly.
And it works poorly exactly because of the aforementioned
making up the law as we go along theory.
To demonstrate that there are degrees of sin here, and
ours are minor by comparison.
One is effectively "doing nothing", at least locally, when
one has a captive with relevant information and does not
act to get that information. What, short of physical
intimidation and force, would you suggest instead to
get the needed info?
One need not discuss the details to make the case,
"Hey, I think FISA is broken and we need to help
the President with better tools."
You say they are "illegal". The administration says they are
permissible given the parties involved. Why doesn't someone
bring suit - not against the Telcos - but the administration for
I suspect they are currently diplomatic primarily. It has also been
quietly reported that we've had SOGCOM people in Iran already, though
obviously no one will confirm this. And Bush may yet pull an
air attack on Iran before the year ends.
That was not what I was talking about. FDR openly thrwarted
the enumerated powers doctrine and led the US into the
sewer of a moving target Constitution moreso than any
president since Jackson (who just ignored SCOTUS completely
in the Trail Of Tears tragedy). And *that* teed up an
awful lot of what you find so repulsive in *this* president.
The threat here is potentially greater because of the
proliferation and miniaturization of nuclear weapons.
If there were no nukes or other serious WMDs potentially
on the table, I would care even slightly about what
happens in Iran, Iraq, et al. But these weapons are
potentially available to some very unstable people
and governments. We cannot wait until they actually
acquire them. We do so at our own peril.
Fine, this is both your privilege and your responsibility.
But Bush, like FDR, will pretty much get away with whatever
he wants. So will Obama/Hillary/McCain. We are no longer
a Constitutional Republic with a fixed rule of law.
Tim Daneliuk firstname.lastname@example.org
You just can't help yourself injecting Swiftboat-grade bullshit in
your arguments. The ol' 'Have you stopped beating your wife' theories.
I can't believe I ever thought your posts were worth reading. Now It
is nothing but useless rhetoric.
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