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May 11, 2009

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"Give me liberty or give me death" -Patrick Henry, 1775

"Go f#$% yourself" -Dick Cheney, 2004

You have to understand that it sounds better in the original German.

Gary, I've had a distressing number of appropriate opportunities to use that particular phrase or variations on it recently.

Wow, only two posts to confirm Godwin's law.

You bunch of pussies need to realize that the enhanced interrogation techniques are the only thing that has prevented another terrorist attack. It has been 7 and a half years! I wonder how long it will be now.

lilneelix, my understanding was that to go Godwin was to compare your opponent in a debate with Nazis. Cheney is not debating catsy, although I suppose Catsy's comment might suggest a preemptive Godwin against anyone who joined the debate to espouse Cheney's position.

Semper Fi, the great thing about overheated blog comments is that it becomes quite impossible to distinguish the snark from the sincere. I will be generous and assume you intended to convey the former.

Semper Fi, don't you realize that now that the terrorists are running the government, there's no need for more attacks? Sharia and gun seizures are just an executive order away.

"Wow, only two posts to confirm Godwin's law."

And only one regime instituting actual Gestapo Verschärfte Vernehmung. That's what it takes.

"my understanding was that to go Godwin was to compare your opponent in a debate with Nazis."

What Godwin's Law actually says:

“As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.”
Van der Leun's Corollary: As global connectivity improves, the probability of actual Nazis being on the Net approaches one.

Farber's Corallary: As torture is further discussed, the probability of someone endorsing actual Nazi torture techniques, Verschärfte Vernehmung, approaches one.

Corrollary, even.

i have to say that i haven't felt the kind of antipathy for anyone else that i felt against nixon and kissinger so long ago, until cheney became VP. he is the son of the prince of darkness (richard perle, of course) himself.

what stake would it take to put that vampire down, that heartless immoral sadistic man.

notice that it's not 'harsh interrogation techniques" ....it's now 'intellgent interrogation programs'
if torture is "intelligent" well then I am the queen of sheeba.

can we all get rid of him and send him off the War Crimes Tribunals yet?

The enhanced interrogation techniques used on John McCain saved lives. Just saying. Not that I am comparing what Cheney did to what the N. Vietnamese did. Cheney authorized CHINESE torture techniques.

The people who think prosecution of these people is too divisive need to take into account their continuing conduct. They are trying to sow division right now. I'm not saying we should give in to them, but at a certain point holding back to preserve societal consensus isn't on the menu.

You bunch of pussies need to realize that the enhanced interrogation techniques are the only thing that has prevented another terrorist attack.*

Huh. People willing to accept additional risk** in their lives by living up the the principles of the United States and not throwing hundreds of years of western civilization and the Geneva conventions down the drain = pussies.

People willing to engage in tactics employed by the Gestapo in order to give themselves a small amount of additional safety = not pussies.

Got it.

*I assume this is parody.
**Not that I would agree this is necessarily the case.

Ugh, once you embrace Dred Scott logic -- no rights the white man is bound to respect -- everything else becomes easy.

Okay, I am German, but... am I reading the quote right?

"Well, then you'd have to say that, in effect, we're prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America."

Doesn't that mean that when faced with the choice between an intelligent interrogation program and dead Americans, he'd choose dead Americans instead of getting good info?

Patrick, no, he claims that
a) Obama would do that (although He did it)
b) His program was intelligent (while Obama's is not)
c) those things are mutually exclusive

Personally I think he prefers dead non-(US)-Americans to dead US-Americans but doesn't give a digestive final product, if it helps him. I am not completely sure, whether it would not be a net win to ritually sacrifice His Dickship on the steps of the Capitol (although I'd find the thought of Nancy Pelosi chanting Phnglui mglwnaf Cthulhu R'lyeh wgahnagl fhtagn! and dancing naked around the altar a bit disturbing).

Why do you think they call him Dick?

"Wow, only two posts to confirm Godwin's law."

If the cap fits, let them wear it.

"The people who think prosecution of these people is too divisive need to take into account their continuing conduct."

Exactly right. Let the zombie continue to walk the earth, and it'll be back for your brains again tomorrow.

"You bunch of pussies"

I was tempted to break the posting rules and invite you to plant a wet one right where I sit, but instead I'll ask a question about the handle you use here.

"Semper fi" means always faithful. Always faithful to what?

You want to toss away 240 years of this country's legacy because 19 guys with box cutters got lucky.

Don't call me a pussy, dude. You want to see a freaked out moral coward, check your mirror.

Farber's Corallary

Yes, he corrected it immediately, which is too bad. I quite like the image of Mr. Farber, a snifter of brandy in his hand, taking guests on a tour of his fabulous subterranean corallary.

He might have forgotten about the 4,287 American lives

Shouldn't this figure be increased by the American percentage of the WTC dead, given that this was the administration that flagrantly ignored the intelligence needed to protect America?

And to think the damage you claim has been done in an effort you dismiss will emerge as a fraction of the destruction to our country as this band of Chicago-style Democrats has unleashed on America in their desperation to escape the Langoliers.

The results of the war should be mentioned every time the subject of torture comes up - it was a far greater crime than torture.

But the war is also a massive and conclusive refutation of the claim by Cheney and others in the Bush administration that they know how to get intelligence information, and/or that they can tell the truth about intelligence. Their claims, supposedly from intelligence, that Iraq had WMD and that Iraq was connected with Al Qaeda were the results either of complete incompetence or willful lying.

bbm is ok with torture, look what he does to an innocent declarative sentence.

the enhanced interrogation techniques are the only thing that has prevented another terrorist attack.

My emphasis, because if the whole comment wasn't snark, I just wanted to make sure we didn't pass right by the omniscience.

the enhanced interrogation techniques are the only thing that has prevented another terrorist attack.

You mean torture allowed us to capture the DC sniper and it helped us capture the anthrax mailing terrorist? Really? Well, since we've captured him, can someone tell me who he is?

Their claims, supposedly from intelligence, that Iraq had WMD and that Iraq was connected with Al Qaeda were the results either of complete incompetence or willful lying.

Willful lying and jaw-dropping deception on a massive scale. There isn't a sliver of ambiguity on this score. Iraq 2003-3 was the most extensive and systematic focused campaign of political deception that I have witnessed in my lifetime.

Thanks lib, take that Victor Hugo. And skepto and KM, if they wanted to, most of the regular posters here could debunk your statements in a New York minute - they just choose not to. And russell, I'm sure he didn't mean you.

Speaking of massive deception to bring on a war of aggression/war of choice:

Sheikh al-Libi, who was tortured specifically to extract a false confession of a link between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government (used by Colin Powell in his disgraceful Feb 2003 UN presentation), has allegedly been found dead in his prison cell in Libya.

How conveeeenient for Dick Cheney.

"Iraq 2003-3 was the most extensive and systematic focused campaign of political deception that I have witnessed in my lifetime."

I'd say that Vietnam/Indochina, 1964-1975, was more extensive and systematic, myself. Iraq was merely far more successful in the short term. But the Vietnam lies were successful until they started to fall apart circa 1967 with some, and not until 1973 or so with others.

And the Vietnam lies resulted in millions of Non-American deaths, not in hundreds of thousands, and in tens of thousands of American dead, not thousands.

You may be too young for this to be in your lifetime, to be sure.

"And skepto and KM, if they wanted to, most of the regular posters here could debunk your statements in a New York minute - they just choose not to."

If you think they're debunkable, go ahead and debunk. I've got popcorn standing by.

The Viet Nam war, entered into and maintained on the basis of lies, had another resemblance to the invasion and occupation of Iraq: it also included a campaign of torture and assassinations on a large scale.

Maybe in twenty years there will be scholarly studies comparing the U.S.'s Iraq and waronterra torture & assassination programs with those it employed in Viet Nam (and to some extent in Cambodia and Laos).

Back to al-Libi, who is highly relevant to the topic of this post. Representatives of Human Rights Watch talked with him two weeks ago, so we know he was alive until then. HRW will be making a statement in the next day or so.

(Per Jeff Kaye [Valtin] in comments at the link in my previous comment on al-Libi.)

Wanda Sykes on the title for Dick Cheney's autobiography: How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.

"I'd say that Vietnam/Indochina, 1964-1975, was more extensive and systematic, myself."

And digging back a little further, both the Spanish-American War and the War with Mexico were tainted by similar charges of having been started on false pretenses. It is almost as if lies and war go together like pancakes and syrup.

If people actually learned anything from past history, then the advocates of future wars would be judged as lying until proven otherwise, but this seems to be a hard lesson that each generation has to learn for itself.

Actually bedtimeforbonzo, that was the POTUS!11!

Another lesson from past history that is hard to learn is that typepad hates links and will strip them out given half a chance. My last comment was intended to contain a link to Ron Dreher's mea culpa given in the wake of Bush's Surge strategy speech. Here's the raw link - http://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2007/01/my-all-things-considered-commentary.html

Sykes is catching some flak for being unPC, which seems to miss the point of political humor. I thought she was terrific at the
correspondents dinner the other night.

Rush Limbaugh can make a living off being a blowhard, wishing out lound that he hopes the President fail, but Wanda Sykes can't make fun of the man Republicans fear. Give me a break.

Also had to laugh that terrorist interrogators would need a break questioning motormouth Joe Biden because hearing him go on and on would be torturous.

P.S. I realize President Obama had others write his material, but I thought he showed natural comedic timing.

Good catch, gocart mozart: Obama's ballsy humor definitely won the crowd over more so than the professional comedian (who was great in the Larry David show, btw).

Is there anything the man can't do?

"Is there anything the man can't do?"

Put ketchup on his hamburger. The man clearly is un-American.

btfb: Sykes is catching some flak for being unPC, which seems to miss the point of political humor.

Saying someone should be waterboarded isn't funny, and not only for PC reasons. It just isn't.

Actual waterboarding is O.K.though. Alrightythen.

"Put ketchup on his hamburger. The man clearly is"

a true conservative. At Louis' Lunch in New Haven, where the hamburger sandwich was invented, they have made a ritual out of the wrongness of ketchup on a hamburger. Why do all these so-called right-wingers hate American tradition so? What's next, "How dare Obama eat something as exotic as apple pie"? (Answer: Yes.)

Sykes is catching some flak for being unPC, which seems to miss the point of political humor.

Largely from people who had no trouble with Coulter joking about poisoning Justice Stevens.

Thanks lib, take that Victor Hugo. And skepto and KM, if they wanted to, most of the regular posters here could debunk your statements in a New York minute - they just choose not to. And russell, I'm sure he didn't mean you.

If you or anyone else wants to take a whack at debunking, please don't be shy.

I'd say that Vietnam/Indochina, 1964-1975, was more extensive and systematic, myself. Iraq was merely far more successful in the short term. But the Vietnam lies were successful until they started to fall apart circa 1967 with some, and not until 1973 or so with others.

And the Vietnam lies resulted in millions of Non-American deaths, not in hundreds of thousands, and in tens of thousands of American dead, not thousands.

You may be too young for this to be in your lifetime, to be sure.

Yeah, I put the qualification in deliberately (was born when VW was just winding down) -- though I'll remain agnostic on the comparison. I wasn't however saying anything about the relative success of the campaign or its ultimate consequences in terms of lives lost, etc. Just about the concentration, degree and coordination of the effort itself.

Nell: To be fair to Sykes, she did not joke about waterboarding anyone.

Sykes made fun of the pro-torture crowd's macho view that waterboarding ain't so bad: Referring to Sean Hannity's offer to be waterboarded, she said, "I can break Sean Hannity just by giving him a middle seat in coach."

Betcha that would indeed trouble poor Sean.

Sykes:

“I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just strung out on OxyContin and missed his flight,” she said, to cheers and nervous groans. “Too much?” But then she continued anyway. “Rush Limbaugh. ‘I hope the country fails’? I hope his kidneys fail, how about that? He needs some more waterboarding, that’s what he needs.”

I haven't watched the video, so feel free to correct that account if you have.

You're new here, eh, gocart mozart?

Saying someone should be waterboarded isn't funny, and not only for PC reasons. It just isn't.

Nell, could you explain why it is not funny? I'm always amazed at the breadth and variety of horrific things that people do in practice find funny, so I'm pretty skeptical of your claim here. I mean, I wouldn't have thought that crucifixion or the Aristocrats would be funny but Life of Brian and, um, the Aristocrats are in fact quite funny. At least many people seem to think so.

My apologizes, Nell. I should not have relied on my (faulty) memory. (I actually saw the program live on television.)

Still, if a professional comedian dare be provocative, I'm going to cut Wanda some slack.

Sykes would have been better served ending the joke at "missed his flight," but she was making fun of someone who has essentially made fun of those of us who have called waterboarding torture.

On Turb's larger point, humor has been found in the worst of circumstances (i.e. gallows humor). I'm always a bit surprised at funerals and wakes that I've attended where jokes and funny stories are freely exchanged, yet I understand humor can be an effective way to get people through such occasions. I remember when my brother was in coma for two weeks in 1999 and how, if we did not have reason to smile from time to time while keeping vigil in the ICU, we would have gone insane.

Let's do it another way, Turb. Give me some examples of where wishing violence or death on another person has been funny.

I loathe Rush Limbaugh. I'm not one bit reluctant to laugh at him, and the delight he takes in cruel jibes about others sets the stage for enjoying seeing him get some of that dished back at him -- but only if it's actually funny. Otherwise it's no different than a comment-section rant

The hijacker / Oxycontin bit is a little funny, and at least half its effect is the way it heads over the top. The liver failure isn't, even as a play on Limbaugh wanting to see Obama, and the country/economy, fail. The waterboarding... just an ugly image; just as funny as saying "I hate him"; i.e., not at all.

Now, the Sean Hannity 'middle seat on coach' line, that's funny.

Let's do it another way, Turb. Give me some examples of where wishing violence or death on another person has been funny.

I thought the Sykes joke about waterboarding was kind of funny. Does that count? It just strikes me as genuinely bizarre for you to say "this humor is not only beyond the pale but is never funny and no one will ever laugh at it".

I think the Son of Cain is far better than Obama as a comedian. That doesn't change my view that the world is better off with the latter as president (and not just because it spared us S.Palin as VP).
Until now I have only read part of Sykes' performance and not seen the video yet. From the text alone I would say some things are not really funny despite Limbaugh being a fully legitimate target. Jokes about a waterboarding competition between Hannity, Beck, Rush, O'Reilly and Whiner Savage might have been better. Will your favorite gasbag beat his rivals? The winner will share his personal waterboard with Malkin and Coulter...

this band of Chicago-style Democrats

Is that Deep Dish Democrats or Democrats with relish?

"or Democrats with relish?"

One thing is for sure, in Chicago no Ketchup.

@Turb: Tastes differ.

Unfunny as I find it, the waterboarding reference is a real knee-slapper by comparison with George W. Bush's "where are those WMD" routine of several years ago.

Which brings us back to the topic of the post.

Military suicide rates are still rising, and I can't imagine that they'll be damped by growing public realization that a significant purpose of the torture was to produce "evidence" of a Saddam-al Qaeda link.

Al-Libi's death by suicide becomes less plausible each day.

And CBS seems happy to put Dick Cheney on for an hour with softball pitcher Bob
Schieffer, who never quite got around to bringing up that Iraq thing...

Elephant, room, all that.

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