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January 05, 2010

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Not to mention that enemies are more likely to surrender rather than fight to the death if they know they'll be treated humanely if captured, which is a benefit of adhering to the Geneva Conventions even if our enemy does not.

There's no point in getting into pissing matches with skunks, especially very stupid skunks.

The test for torture advocates is whether they think the father should have been taken to an interrogation facility and waterboarded. After all, why should we assume that he told us everything he knew? Isn't it just as likely that he has additional information -- things he knows but doesn't know the significance of, that would add to the mosaic?

Anyone who advocates torturing the son but not the father is revealing their true motive: punishment, not intelligence. In a functional society, such people would be shunned.

Nothing here to disagree with.

Did get me thinking though -- would the GOP (or at least the leadership) and conservative be sticking this much neck out for something so insane if it weren't for Dick Cheney pumping away on the issue today? Or for that matter, if the man hadn't pushed so hard to establish the torture regime in the first place as VP?

I tend to think not; and if I'm right, this insane wing of the conservative base is Cheney's most significant legacy.

The English language does not have within it the words to condemn such.

On a slightly lighter note: can we make it official that Dick was the worst VP in our nation's history?

To be sure, there are other contenders -- Aaron Burr, John C. Calhoun, Spiro Agnew -- but they don't seem to have the same level of a legacy. Maybe -- fingers crossed -- Cheney won't either.

Thanks, BTW, for mentioning the dysfunctional relationship between urban populations and the police. Too many people fail to notice this "army of occupation" mentality, or worse yet take it for granted.
-- Dr. Psycho

Agnew was a bleephole, for sure, but he was a plain old garden-variety crook. And the things which he did mostly took place while he was governor of MD.
I can't even see him being interested enough to go all fascist and Jack Bauer on the country or the world.
(And yes, I remember very well all the criticism of "coddling criminals" etc. That was politics, pure and simple.)

"And yes, I remember very well all the criticism of "coddling criminals" etc. That was politics, pure and simple."

If we're talking motives, I'm not completely sure Cheney's are really any better...

This being the case, might I suggest we start taking this case public and hammering on it as hard as possible. "The father gave information on his son only because of his faith in our fairness and humane treatment. Anything that might call that into question will discourage this sort of tips." etc etc. Our side needs to start spreading this as far and wide and the Republicans are spreading their torture porn.

Agreed.

Which reminds me of another Adam Serwer post.

EL

Unfortunately, logical conclusions did not work well during the discussion on the effectiveness of the use of torture.

Fraud Guy,

It would help if our side would make at least the effort. We should be hammering home the point again and again that this man's father gave us the information because he believed in us, and keeping tips like that coming requires not just having a system better than somebody else's, but a system people would entrust their own friends and family members to, we won't keep getting tips like that. We should ask, again and again, would this man have given us a tip on his own son if he had thought it would lead to his son being tortured.

I don't think the father wanted his son imprisoned for life, either, as seems likely. So this argument seems like a non sequitur. I think it's safe to say that if the U.S. is going to ignore this sort of warning, except to use it as a minor piece of evidence at trial before locking the son up in a maximum security prison forever and ever, it will definitely receive fewer of such warnings.

On the other hand, given the use that was made of this warning, getting fewer of them won't be much of a loss, will it?

I don't think the father wanted his son imprisoned for life

I think the father desperately wanted his son to be imprisoned for life to the extent that he believed the alternative was having his son die horribly while killing a few hundred innocent people. Obviously, the father dislikes both outcomes, but that doesn't mean he can't have a clear preference between them.

I believe Dick Cheney and a large part of today's Republican Party would like to torture, imprison and kill son and father.

Look, if they torture and murder the son, that's one less enemy for the Republican Party to hate ... and like the feeding shark .. that would be death to the Republican Party's hate machine.

Dad's up next for enemy Number #1.

When they are done with him, the Republican Party, the domestic enemy of the United States, will begin torturing and murdering liberals and Democrats, who, after all, are the Republican Party's self-professed mortal enemy, as they will tell you in news conferences, public meetings, the Congressional Record, and on Fox News.

Words from their own filthy mouths.

And yet no one believes them.

Odd that.

I have heard too many friends and family respond to these situations by saying: "well, why not, he deserves it."

And I explain about the rule of law, and the constitution, and rights, and the response is some variation of "well, he deserves it."

Do you have good counter examples to use, because right now, the gut checks of anyone I know to the center & right come down to who deserves it, and who doesn't.

"When they are done with him, the Republican Party, the domestic enemy of the United States, will begin torturing and murdering liberals and Democrats, who, after all, are the Republican Party's self-professed mortal enemy, as they will tell you in news conferences, public meetings, the Congressional Record, and on Fox News."

I have spent the last few weeks travelling in the US. I am amazed at the vitriol on both sides of this in political circles. I am more amazed at the casual acceptance in most of the people that I meet that there is little difference between the Dems and Reps, particularly in Congress. Almost like being blue or red is like being a Ford or Chevy man. You kind of know that there isn't a lot of difference but you are loyal nonetheless and every so often your favorite has an off year.

So when the war breaks out it will be between the few fiercely angry folks on either side, because most of America is simply busy doing the best they can, because of or despite what happened in Washington today. Most of them believe it is in spite of what goes on. So we really have achieved bipartisanship, bipartisan vitriol in the leadership, press and blogosphere...and bipartisan contempt from most everyone else.

Well, the US motto is Oderint Dum Metuant and there is In the Rod We Trust on every dollar bill, isn't there? (not to forget the amendment to ban burning of the flog)

I am amazed at the vitriol on both sides of this in political circles.

Mmmm...my favorite! False equivalency soufflé, dusted with just a soupçon of clutched pearls. Bon appétit, everyone!

I don't think the father wanted his son imprisoned for life, either, as seems likely. So this argument seems like a non sequitur.

What Turbulence said. You don't report such things to the CIA/State unless you accept the probability of legal action being taken.

You kind of know that there isn't a lot of difference but you are loyal nonetheless and every so often your favorite has an off year.

IMVHO there is a large difference between the two parties, policy-wise and other-wise.

And to be perfectly frank, to the degree that there are thugs and folks prone to violent rhetoric and actions in our political mix, it seems to me that they are attracted to the Republican party rather than to the Democrats.

Folks opposed to Bush's policies, and his father's before him, and Reagan's before him, did not openly carry weapons to political meetings, and did not call for the tree of liberty to be watered with the blood of whoever was occupying the Oval Office at the time.

I'm not a huge fan of the Democrats because, for my taste, they don't go anywhere near far enough to the left. Nobody in this country does. Bernie Sanders is considered lefty ultima thule here, and in any other similiar nation to ours he'd be considered middle of the road. Obama would be considered a conservative technocrat, as indeed he is.

But that doesn't mean I don't recognize the glaringly obvious difference in the tone of the rhetoric among the partisans of the left and right.

You have to go back 40 years to find folks on the left side of the political universe in this country engaging in anything approaching violence, rhetorical or actual, and those folks were not looking to participate in the political process. They were looking to burn it down.

Those folks aren't in the mix anymore. They're either dead, in jail, or retired and dining on early bird specials in Florida or Arizona.

The folks talking bloody revolution these days vote for folks with an (R) before their name, and take their talking points from Rush and Beck.

Regarding what the underpants bombers' father wished for his son, I note that, frex, the Unabomber's brother negotiated for the death penalty to be off the table before he gave him up.

Folks may want to do the right thing, but they don't want to be the one who gets their loved ones killed, tortured, or otherwise abused.

It's human nature.

"And to be perfectly frank, to the degree that there are thugs and folks prone to violent rhetoric and actions in our political mix, it seems to me that they are attracted to the Republican party rather than to the Democrats."


The violent, media grabbing miniscule minority on the right isn't who I am talking about or who we should be talking about. They have always existed. So don't lump me and the rest of ordinary Republican, right of center America into the media caricature of the anti American right wing opposition.

Remember the Uni-Bomber's identity was discovered when his brother dropped a dime on him.

The violent, media grabbing miniscule minority on the right isn't who I am talking about or who we should be talking about.

The combined audience enjoyed by Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin, Savage et al is simply too large to dismiss as miniscule. Then there are political leaders like Michele Bachman engaging in violent, eliminationist rhetoric.

You said this:

So when the war breaks out it will be between the few fiercely angry folks on either side

I responded to it. In my response I made no statement whatsoever about you.

What you said here is false. The fiercely angry folks who are carrying guns around and threatening (and sometimes more than threatening) to shoot folks are not on either side. They're on yours.

If it bugs you that your point of view suffers from being associated with them, that's not my problem. If it's anyone's problem, it's yours.

It is what it is, dude, I'm just pointing out the obvious. The two sides are not the same, and it ain't just business as usual.

The violent, media grabbing miniscule minority on the right isn't who I am talking about or who we should be talking about. They have always existed. So don't lump me and the rest of ordinary Republican, right of center America...

Except of course when you regularly defend and, in fact, promote the use of torture and militancy when it comes to foreign policy.

If Gandhi were around today and commenting here, I bet he would sound just like you!

The combined audience enjoyed by Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin, Savage et al is simply too large to dismiss as miniscule.

Ah, but they're no match for the awesome power and might of John Thullen. He contains multitudes. So you know, it all evens out.

And speaking of civility...

"The combined audience enjoyed by Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Malkin, Savage et al is simply too large to dismiss as miniscule."

As far as I can tell a significant portion of their audience is progressives and left wingers listening to hear what they are going to say today and it certainly seems unlikely that any substantial portion of their audience is promoting violent overthrow. I am not sure if they even promote violence, having never listened to or watched them (I think I have seen Coulter on a talk show, and read some of Malkin. I don't think they have the audience reach of the others).

Their were a lot more people at the town meetings without guns than with guns, but they didn't get the attention.

Just to Russell, I know your comment wasn't personally focused, I included myself to hopefully make a point. Probably unsuccessfully.


And this:

Except of course when you regularly defend and, in fact, promote the use of torture and militancy when it comes to foreign policy.

just isn't true.

As far as I can tell a significant portion of their audience is progressives and left wingers listening to hear what they are going to say today

Nah, that would be a tiny fraction.

I am not sure if they even promote violence, having never listened to or watched them

They do.

I know your comment wasn't personally focused, I included myself to hopefully make a point.

I do get that.

There are lots of regular conservative folks who aren't foaming at the mouth and carrying AR15's to public discussions of health care legislation. By far most regular conservative folk are not doing so.

The antics of their so-called conservative brethren should bother them at least as much as it bothers us lefties, because it makes them look bad.

The issue of bullying isn't specifically a partisan one. It's bad form to threaten, explicitly or implicitly, violence against your neighbors. Red state / blue state, doesn't matter.

However, contrary to your statement upthread, that particular pox is not found in both houses at this particular point in time.

With that, I will stop beating this particular dead horse.

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