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November 10, 2005

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Have they recently gone insane over there, or has it always been so?

BTW von, do you post under the same pseudonym at redstate?

What astounds me about arguments such as Mirengoff's is the seeming assumption that folks walk around with tattoos on their foreheads clearly labeling them "terrorist" and "out to destroy America".

Gromit,

Well, I know I do.

Isn't it charming how these nutwads go on at length, whenever confronted with a court decision of which they disapprove, of how it's the job of the legislature to make laws, damn it! . . . . until the legislature makes one they don't like. What they really want is an executive that makes laws, and courts and a legislature that rubber-stamp them.

It literally would not surprise me, even one little bit, for these people to push to have George W. Bush crowned.

Gromit: "What astounds me about arguments such as Mirengoff's": I'd be wary of the idea that there is only one astounding thing. For some reason, what always astounds me most is that the very same people who are forever castigating liberals for being insufficiently patriotic and insufficiently concerned with values are so unbelievably quick not just to toss their values and their country's most fundamental ideals out the window, but to proclaim that anyone who fails to join them must obviously love the terrorists and hate America. I mean, this is doublethink gone berserk.

Well, heck, von: there ya go: Powerline - "Best Blog in Most
of the Known Universes", or whatever, sez that anyone who has any qualms about using torture is "pro-terrorist rights" - what a great meme: gotta catch on in a flash!
After that, what else is there?

[/sarcasm]

If it hadn't been for that damn weak-kneed King John, none of this ever would have happened. [email protected]#*ing Magna Charta anyway. Bunch of [email protected]#!ing pansies, is what I say.

I'm thinking the Powerline boys would be pretty comfortable with snappy black uniforms and twin lightning bolt insignia. This, to my mind, answers the question of "how can people end up like that?" The answer? Torturing terrorists is okay, because they're evil. And people who are tortured are terrorists, because we would only torture terrorists, which is okay because they're evil.

It's just a short hop, skip, and jump to the fun-filled evening torchlight rallies from there.

Sorry if that seems needlessly dramatic or pessimistic. It's just friggin' depressing, that's all.

You know, I can understand those who argue that torturing terrorists is necessary in order to protect the country. I disagree strongly, and think they are (at minimum) enabling crimes against humanity--but I understand the argument.

What I do not understand is the depravity or intellectual shallowness that will not allow some of them to consider the question: what if you've got the wrong guy? Because it's inarguable by sane, thinking people that in many cases we have done exactly that. Many of them are still sitting in Gitmo.

As an aside, it always amuses me that some of the same conservatives that scream the loudest about big government are so anxious to cede the benefit of the doubt to that government when it gets into the business of torture and indefinite detentions. Fascism comes in all the colors of the rainbow, I guess--even red, white and blue.

"It literally would not surprise me, even one little bit, for these people to push to have George W. Bush crowned."

They would like to see Bush crowned dictator for life, and massive busts of his countenance mounted on the four corners of the Capitol Building, like a certain swarthy bushy-moustachioed personage I can't quite name.

And when he writes this: "simply lack the clarity and the strength of character to protect themselves, and to ensure the survival of their society and culture"

Does anyone else have the gut feeling he originally spelled it kultur?

I wonder if he uses fraktur as his text editor font.

Am I reaching too far when I note that the argument against the death penalty that really should hit home is that it does not reduce the murder rate ; which is the presumable goal of the state (although there's no doubt that particular murderer - if correctly identified - won't be a repeat offender). Maybe thinking like that would tend to help one figure out how invading Iraq was supposed to fight terrorism (by scaring the piss out of everyone else in the world ?). Now think how Saddam believed he had to pretend to have real bad shit so's the neighbours wouldn't mess with him. Reminds me of North Korea. Iran is really cogenial these days too. What is it about a bad example that really sucks ? Guess somebody should have thought more about how Geo. did as Governor of Texas. Damn.

"They would like to see Bush crowned dictator for life, .."

I dont think they care that much, Bush may be rapidly aproaching his 'best before' date. Maybe the Bush worship is genuine, but I think its more archetype than genius they are after. Any empty suit will do methinks.

When I followed the powerline link, the large ad to the right of the propaganda was "Vote Guiliani For President, 2008".

Perhaps someone more technically literate than I could do a screen capture and let the mayor's staff know what he is associated with.

When I just went back however the ad has what appears to be a prostitute selling gipper Tshirts.

Dictator for life? Bush? I think the GOP, or the faction [increasingly less] in control was aiming for some sort of perpetual rule...like until recently the PRI in Mexico, or the Liberal Democrats in Japan.

But then, reality has frequently surpassed my worst case scenarios.

The title presumes that there is an (objectively) anti-terrorist wing of the Republican party. Evidence suggests not.

[/sarcasm]

LJ is right on. the handful of anti-torture conservative posters here are exceptions. no not just exceptions: oddities, outright outliers, obvious outsiders, oddballs. the rest of the Party is bloodthirsty.

i'll say it again. those 'black sites' are going to be another way for Republican politicians to try to paint their opponents as soft.

CNN's headline is a classic (via TPM)

"Frist concerned more about leaks than secret prisons"

"Paul Mirengoff"

The link there is broken.

"It literally would not surprise me, even one little bit, for these people to push to have George W. Bush crowned."

I move that the Senate authorize emergency powers for the Supreme Chancellor.

Soon Count Dooku Cheney will be forced to testify, and I shall have a new apprentice....

What astounds me about arguments such as Mirengoff's is the seeming assumption that folks walk around with tattoos on their foreheads clearly labeling them "terrorist" and "out to destroy America".

Assumption? Mirengoff already knows that every Democrat has those tatoos.

Making fun of Powerline? Low hanging fruit? They go together like white is to rice, or cold is to ice. (Apologies, Stevie Ray Vaughn)

Or flies on grandma, to use one of my favorite phrases.

I think that should be 'white on rice'. "is to" sounds like a GRE question. Some other examples include
"stink on s**t"
"ugly on an ape"

Anarch, you best not be talkin' 'bout my maw maw (seen as you made me laugh out loud) ;^)

I move that the Senate authorize emergency powers for the Supreme Chancellor.

Soon Count Dooku Cheney will be forced to testify, and I shall have a new apprentice...

Come on, Cheney's not Palpatine...

It's called right-wing nihilism!

Gary Farber: Soon Count Dooku Cheney will be forced to testify, and I shall have a new apprentice....

"This is no movie -- this is real!"

"Which reel?"

"The last reel of this vintage motion picture 'Highschool Madness,' lot #..."

BTW von, do you post under the same pseudonym at redstate?

Yes.

I think it's a mistake to call (or insinuate) that Mirengoff is a fascist or Nazi; he ain't, and to color him with that broad brush is to make the same mistake of overheated rhetoric that he does. Better to simply point out that he's being an idiot, and leave it at that.

What Catsy said, and what von said.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. That's the ticket:

"Indeed, as every schoolkid knows, America was founded on the right to torture its enemies. That's why we shoved nails under the fingertips of the British, ritually disemboweled Confederate prisoners, and administered electric shocks to the genitals of captured Germans prisoners during World War II."

One silly argument begets another. I almost wish exaggeration wasn't such a common debating method.

So, good people, now what! This has been debated here quite thoroughly. Do we abolish all forms of interrogation - or just those that Von indicates are inherently inhumane and ineffective. Because I sense that is a big part of the resistance here. Many will agree with Vons insidious examples, but some could be a little hesitant to declare that unholy murderers be sent to Club Med to enjoy their stay. (Damn, I exaggerated!) I'll hang on to Sebastian's past posts to try to work out my own feelings on the matter. Vengeance is mine.

liberal japonicus:

I think that should be 'white on rice'. "is to" sounds like a GRE question.

From Stevie Rae Vaughn "Close to You":

I wanna be close to you baby as white is to rice
Close to you baby as cold is to ice
Close to you baby as fire is to smoke
Close to you baby as a pig is to poke

That's the problem with using GRE challenged blue's lyrics to make your point.

blogbuds: Do we abolish all forms of interrogation - or just those that Von indicates are inherently inhumane and ineffective.

Are you deliberately or accidentally blurring the line between lawful interrogation, and torture?

Vengeance is mine.

Do you accept, then, that those who were tortured by the US military can also simply claim "vengeance is mine"? If so, what form of vengeance do you feel would be right for them to claim? The same as your own - the right to torture and imprison all those whom they suspect of being "unholy torturers"?

BlogBusboy -- I wonder what Justice Potter Stewart would think about your beloved interrogation methods.

...I shall not today attempt further to define the methods of interrogation I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ("Torture"); and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and waterboarding is right out. No hypothermia, no sleep deprivation. What are you guys thinking? No, of course you can't fracture somebody's legs or ribs with a baseball bat -- you need me to spell this out for you?

"UPDATED 11.11.05."

Your first link is still broken, Von.

"Am I reaching too far when I note that the argument against the death penalty that really should hit home is that it does not reduce the murder rate...."

You seem not to have noticed that the auto-reply on that is that this clearly proves that the death penalty isn't applied widely and quickly enough; if we use it quickly, clearly, and comprehensively, why, then the deterrent will click in, of course.

I think it's a mistake to call (or insinuate) that Mirengoff is a fascist or Nazi; he ain't

Well, I don't know him, so I'll take your word for it. I agree that's he's an idiot. But I think it's equally mistaken to dismiss him as simply an idiot. There's a comfort with authoritarianism implict in his remarks, which, if it isn't distinguished enough to be fascism, at least aspires to second-rate caudilloism. Since he speaks for a Party that largely approves of secret prisons, torture, and the suspension of habeas corpus, debating if Mirengoff is actually a fascist or if he just swoons at the sight of strong men is a little academic.

I think either the meaning of "interrogate" is being...um...interrogated into something new and undesirable, which in turn is providing some unanticipated graphic imagery when I read stuff like this, for example.

None of the dictionaries I have access to have this new definition, so maybe I need to buy a more recent edition.

Slartibartfast, are you referring to the new definition where "Interrogate person X" == "Send person X to 'Club Med' and ply him with wine, caviar and gorgeous, seductive babes" or to the new definition where "Interrogate person X" == "Cause person X to undergo beatings, sleep deprivation, hypothermia and possible death"? Because it's not clear nowadays what someone means when that talk about that.

One silly argument begets another. I almost wish exaggeration wasn't such a common debating method.

You omitted the last of the paragraph sentence, Blogbudsman, which is key:

Indeed, as every schoolkid knows, America was founded on the right to torture its enemies. That's why we shoved nails under the fingertips of the British, ritually disemboweled Confederate prisoners, and administered electric shocks to the genitals of captured Germans prisoners during World War II. What? We didn't? Clearly, then, today's crisis is far more severe than the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II.

I do exagerate at bit, but the point (I think) remains sound: Those who would legitimize torture today claim that torture is required so that we can effectively prosecute the war. Yet, that claim rings hollow, for we did not legitimize torture in far more dire circumstances. (This is not to say that torture did not occur; only that we did not give it official sanction of law.)

On further note to Blogbudsman:

Do we abolish all forms of interrogation - or just those that Von indicates are inherently inhumane and ineffective.

This debate is taking place in a very sepcific context -- the McCain Amendment. The McCain Amendment defines the particular forms of interrogation at issue.

blogbudsman--

Vengeance is mine.

I'm not so much a Christian, or any kind of theist, but if you are, I'd consider the next three words and then rethink your position.

Now LizardBreath, you never know just who is behind a message boards pseudonym...

Blogbudsman has come like a thief in the night...?

Jeremy Osner: BlogBusboy -- I wonder what Justice Potter Stewart would think about your beloved interrogation methods.

I don't think modifying commenters' handles in this way is a particularly polite or effective way to make a point.

'Tis true. Consider the insulting nickname withdrawn.

"I don't think modifying commenters' handles in this way is a particularly polite or effective way to make a point."

It works very well if you're six years old.

Newsflash: Glenn Reynolds finally just comes out and says it.

What do you mean "finally"? He was one of the biggest pushers of the "objectively pro-Saddam" line before the war started.

Apropos of very little, and at the risk of offending the Gods of Godwin, I have to point out:

I wonder if he uses fraktur as his text editor font.

Actually, the Nazis didn't like old German script (Fraktur, and Suetterlin handwriting). Hitler had read somewhere, and so decided to believe, that Gothic letterforms were Jewish-inspired and thus corrupt. He also worried that Germany would have trouble governing Europe if Germans kept using a nearly illegible form of writing. So in 1941 the Nazi government decreed that all printing and writing (in schools, especially) be done in Latin script.

dmbeaster: Stevie Ray Vaughn may have performed it, but that's a Muddy Waters song.

Jes - "Are you deliberately or accidentally blurring the line between lawful interrogation, and torture?"

Tis no accident. Twas a bit of the argument. That line gets moved around depending on the intended damage of the arguer.

Jes - "Do you accept, then,..." A right? We're not talking about rights. We're talking dealing with an enemy at a level of its choosing. If it is possible to fight honorably, then Geneva Convention it is. If it’s wanton evilness, then to that level we must go.

And that same contention is my response to Vons attempt to distinguish between historic conflicts, although Andersonville probably rendered Abu Graib and Gitmo to amateur status.

McCain can be excused for wanting to perpetuate the "we'll be civil to you, because we want you to be civil to us" argument. It just doesn't seem to hold water when dealing with the vileness of the current threat to our existence.

And did the Lord sayeth Mine or mine!

And unfortunately my first thought to Jeremy's indiscretion was "sticks and stones ...". Tortuous response, don't you think.


Blogbuds: We're talking dealing with an enemy at a level of its choosing. If it is possible to fight honorably, then Geneva Convention it is. If it’s wanton evilness, then to that level we must go.

So you wish to give the opposition justification for evil attacks on innocent American civilians by evilly torturing innocent Arab or Iraqi or Afghan civilians? Well, that's an interesting way of "fighting fire with fire": trying to be more evil than the people whom you oppose because they are evil...

If it is possible to fight honorably, then Geneva Convention it is. If it’s wanton evilness, then to that level we must go.

Ah yes, how well I remember all those death camps we constructed for our Nazi prisoners of war...

Jes - "So you wish to give the opposition justification for evil attacks on innocent American civilians by evilly torturing innocent Arab or Iraqi or Afghan civilians?"

er, what? You might have that a little backards, you golden tonged devil.

BBM, I agree with you that treating prisoners we take better in hopes that AQ will treat our prisoners better is utterly hopeless.

That said, there are still a number of reasons to treat them well. I'd list some of them if I thought you were interested.

What I don't get is why you think treating them worse because they are savages is going to help anything. It's not going to deter them. It's not going to accomplish any war aims.

You want revenge? You think torturing some innocent guy to death gives it to you? Only the guilty, I guess, but if they won't confess, maybe a little torture will help them along. How many deaths do you need, before your lust is slaked?

Should we publish a number, then count down as each prisoner is tortured, beheaded, whatever, until we can declare victory?

Let's just rape their women and children and raze their land to the bedrock and get on with it. If we're going to be vile, let's not beat around the bush....let's be open about ti.

"If it’s wanton evilness, then to that level we must go."

Why?

Also: and what are we fighting for, then? Our "wanton evilness"?

McCain can be excused for wanting to perpetuate the "we'll be civil to you, because we want you to be civil to us" argument.
This is odd, because I've yet to see McCain, or any sane person make any such argument. Could you please link to a quote from McCain that illustrates your assertion that he's made this argument?

I don't know anyone who expects al Qaeda to be "civil" to us, or to anyone, or to respond to our actions at all. We don't want to torture because a) it's demonstrably ineffective at least much of the time; b) there's no demonstratable benefit to engaging in it when, at best, it will only be effective sporadically, and we'll rarely know when that is the case; c) it damages anyone who does the torturing; d)it's almost impossible for a democratic nation to engage in torture and either not let it get out of control, or keep it secret, anyway; and thus e) it's tremendously destructive to our country's reputation in the world, a world in which we need allies and good will to fight terrorism.

Nobody gives a flying fugg about what al Quaeda thinks; on what planet is that being discussed?

Incidentally, al-Libi was tortured. This is an example of how unreliable it is. Or would you argue that, in general, tortured people aren't interested in telling the torturer whatever he wants to hear?

Newsflash: Glenn Reynolds finally just comes out and says it.

A better explanation, from another of us Nazis on the right. I accept in advance your explantion of how nobody accused soldiers, etc, of actually being Nazis today.

"A better explanation, from another of us Nazis on the right."

What is it a better explanation of?

What is it a better explanation of?

How certain types of public opposition to war, depending on motivation actually harm our soldiers and our country, even if it includes the statement that "We support our troops". And how other types of dissent are legit.

DaveC: How certain types of public opposition to war, depending on motivation actually harm our soldiers and our country, even if it includes the statement that "We support our troops".

As for example, Bush's repeated claim "we support our troops", while his administration sets out to damage them by supporting torture, by sending the army out ill-equippped, by failing to plan for occupation, the withdrawal of funding for VA, etc? As opposed to the theoretical harm described in the article you linked to, Bush's attitude has caused actual physical harm and death... which appears to be overlooked by those who hear only his saying "we support our troops" and never examine his administration's actions.

I feel very uncomfortable with a piece that describes the opposition of the war as 'give aid and comfort to the enemy' about three times in the first few paragraphs. That phrase has a very specific meaning.

Jes said something similar but...

How certain types of public opposition to war, depending on motivation actually harm our soldiers and our country, even if it includes the statement that "We support our troops"...

That may be true, but opposition doesn't occur in a vacuum. After all, which is more harmful to our soldiers and our country: dissenters who oppose the war (and thereby potentially embolden resistance or insurgency), or a ruinous foreign policy that's eviscerating our military while collapsing Iraq (and possibly the greater Middle East) into chaos?

On the one hand, I'd like it if the anti-war "movement", in addition to being more cohesive and more coherent (and thus an actually movement), were... more chary in its choice of strategies. OTOH, I've seen absolutely no evidence for, and reams upon reams of evidence against, the proposition that somehow if the anti-war movement were only more polite/respectful/quiet/supportive [insert your BS adjective here] that the pro-war movement would suddenly go, "Hey! You know what? You're right! And btw, sorry for calling you guys 'objectively pro-Saddam' and 'traitors' and 'fifth columnists' and all that jazz." After a certain point, calls for keeping the discourse within "legitimate" or "decent" bounds, under whatever guise, aren't actually calls for legitimacy or decency -- especially from those who sociopolitical viewpoints are in power -- they're irrational demands to preserve the status quo, and deserved to be treated as such.

Yeah, using that phrase that post boils down to "We think you are committing treason by dissent but we'll let it pass as long as you make sure you're ineffective." Not really convincing.

Actually, you might be interested to know that the US did maltreat German POWs after WWII:

http://hnn.us/articles/5106.html

The name of the loophole category was "Disarmed Enemy Forces" - not far off from "Enemy Combatants." And the abuse was nowhere near as extensive as we're seeing now.

How certain types of public opposition to war, depending on motivation actually harm our soldiers and our country, even if it includes the statement that "We support our troops". And how other types of dissent are legit.
How could the degree of harm to "our soldiers and our country" be "depending on motivation"?

Assuming arguendo that some dissent "harm our soldiers and our country," how does that make them non-"legit"?

Please note that these are two questions, not one.

Actually, you might be interested to know that the US did maltreat German POWs after WWII:

My mother-in-law was an Irish in the US army who spoke fluent german and was sent to germany 1945-1947 to help with translations.
I am well aware that there was a lot of matreatment; not just of POW but of the civilian population too. As you said though; the abuse was nowhere near as extensive as we're seeing now.

The maltreatment, while widespread, was mostly simply a consequence of lack of surviving infrastructure, both physical and human, in the immediate aftermath of German surrender, and the overwhelming logistical problems remaining for many months; it was rarely malicious.

This was also admidst vast other injustice, such as the massive "population transfers," as they were so innocuously called, across Europe and other countries (and soon to come in India and elsewhere with decolonization).

Actually, the Allies did administer electric shocks to the genitals of German POWs, plus use medical malpractice, forced nudity - and at least one man was executed based on forced confessions extracted by torture. Which is just how it worked in the days of the Inquisition (Spanish, French, English, etc) and other, secular uses of judicial torture: we know they're guilty, we just have to make them admit that they're heretics/witches/traitors to protect the rest of us from them.

Historical chauvinism is a dangerous pedestal to puff one's country (and vicarious self) up from.

Okay, yes, a terrorist is never clearly marked, but they all hate american and want nothing more to see us die. All of us. But they chop peoples heads off, always have been always will be. When we capture a person who we think is a terrorist, we should check just to make sure. If he/she is, then torture them till they break. Then get all the info we can. Then punsih them, preferably a firing squad.

Come again Tarcisio-Souza005, say what?
Are you for real?

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