Cheney: “I Was a Big Supporter of Waterboarding”

Former Vice President Dick Cheney came out this weekend in an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl to proclaim “I was a big supporter of waterboarding.” It is an astonishing public admission since waterboarding is not just illegal but a war crime. It is akin to the Vice President saying that he supported bank robbery or murder-for-hire as a public policy.

The ability of Cheney to openly brag about his taste for torture is the direct result of President Barack Obama blocking any investigation or prosecution of war crimes. For political reasons, Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have refused to carry out our clear obligations under international law to prosecute for such waterboarding. Indeed, before taking office, various high-ranking officials stated that both Obama and Holder assured them that they would not allow such prosecutions. While they denied it at the time, those accounts are consistent with their actions following inauguration.

By the way, this is the same man who insisted that acknowledging waterboarding was barred under national security laws — a position accepted by ranking Democrats who were eager to avoid the issue during the Bush Administration.

We have now come to this: a Vice President who feels perfectly comfortable in bragging out his support for a torture program. It is a moment that is more of an indictment of Obama than (the unindicted) Cheney. It is fruit that comes from an Administration that chose politics over principle — even at the cost of precedent forged in the Nuremberg trials and the Geneva Conventions. Cheney’s statement should be a moment of unspeakable national shame.

For the full interview, click here.

192 thoughts on “Cheney: “I Was a Big Supporter of Waterboarding”

  1. I agree with the decision not to prosecute Bush administration officials because I think the costs outweigh the benefits, but if the evidence warrants it, I think they should be referred to the Hague for potential prosecution.

  2. I am unsure if they should be prosecuted by the US. However, its a close call. I think that this is an admission of guilt. Can he claim I was just following orders?

  3. I don’t think the Obama administration will be extraditing Bush and Cheyney anytime soon after blowing up a house and 12 civilians in Afghanistan.

    Just saying.

  4. I think war criminals must be prosecuted! We shouldn’t be weighing costs against benefits. How can our country serve as an example of moral authority in the world if former leaders brag about torturing people? We tortured innocent victims as well as those who were guilty of terrorism.

  5. If Cheney is an advocate of water boarding we should try it out on him and his criminal associates, and see just how effective it is.

    We could find out just how big a role he played in the cover-ups & criminal activities of the Bush administration.

    Maybe we could also find out how three steel buildings can “free fall” completely to the ground in their own footprint.

    Even if you believe a jet crash can do it…(which it can’t), it still won’t explain the building #7 demolition.

    There is NO WAY building #7 could have “free fell” to the ground like it did from a fire…NONE!

  6. The cost of not prosecuting Bush and Cheney?

    I think we’ve already paid the price with the demise of our Constitution, the subjective application of the rule of law, and the final obliteration of U.S. moral authority.

  7. I don’t think there is the political will to prosecute Cheney in this country unfortunately. Maybe another country could prosecute him.

  8. I am amased some advocating the non-prosecution of war criminals a because “the costs outway the benefits.” Does the same apply to slavery, rape, voter fraud, et cetera? Without doubt one can find numerous advantages (cost vs. benfit) in those.

  9. I’m not so sure that Obama is blocking prosecution because of politics. He may be covering his own ass from any future prosecution of his own war crimes. When the Republicans assume control of the Justice Department again, there could be retribution against Obama if he went after Bush/Cheney.

  10. Elaine M. wrote: “We shouldn’t be weighing costs against benefits.”

    She then wrote: “How can our country serve as an example of moral authority in the world if former leaders brag about torturing people?”

    Hi Elaine, you cited a potential benefit, to serve as an example of moral authority. But why cite any benefits if we shouldn’t be weighing costs against benefits? Are you suggesting we should look only at benefits, and never consider costs? In your view, when is it appropriate to consider costs, and when is to inappropriate? In answering that question, are you or did you weigh the costs and benefits?

  11. Obama had a chance to prosecute Cheney in the beginning before he himself had committed war crimes. He preferred to strike a conciliatory note with the republicans which in the end availed him nothing.

  12. Tsutsugamushi wrote: “I am amazed some advocate the non-prosecution of war criminals because ‘the costs outweigh the benefits.’ Does the same apply to slavery, rape, voter fraud, et cetera? Without doubt one can find numerous advantages (cost vs. benefit) in those.”

    Hi Tsutsugamushi, how did you arrive at that conclusion? Did you consider only benefits, and not costs? Or was there some other process that led you to that conclusion, and if so, could you please explain what process you used? What other moral imperatives do you see that must be pursued regardless of cost? The defeat of terrorists? BTW, how much of time and money did you personally spend yesterday to end rape in this world? Did you give it your 100%, doing nothing but work toward the end of rape? Or does your “cost doesn’t matter” attitude only apply when you are spending other people’s time, money and opportunity costs, not your own?

  13. Here’s another brain twister for the “costs don’t matter crowd”. You are a conquering general. After leading your troops to victory, you have to choices: to feed a civilian population that is in imminent danger of starving to death, or to prosecute the war criminals. You do not have the resources to do both. Which do you choose? Of course, you answered the question already: you would prosecute the war criminals, because that is all that matters. Is that not very similar to the situation we currently face as a country? We can take our resources and apply them to solving problems in our environment, with health care, with energy, with global wars, with poverty and hunger, with lack of education. Or we can prosecute the war criminals, which will have a negative effect on all of the above and might in fact be such a big ordeal that it consumes us and prevents us from accomplishing anything else. Which would you choose? Oh again, your answer is clear, I understand, prosecute the war criminals, because that is all that matters…

  14. Alan–

    I think there is a right decision to be made in regard to prosecuting those who are guilty of war crimes. I’m not talking about prosecuting war criminals for the purpose of serving as a moral example. You do it because it should be done. When you do the right thing for the right reasons, you set a good example.

  15. Let me be clear. He should be prosecuted, but should not be prosecuted by the US. Where could you find a unbiased jury pool in the US or maybe the world for that matter. Maybe they should make him an ambassador to Switzerland. I am sure he has close ties and would be there if the Swiss decided to make him available for War Crimes Prosecution. Ambassadors have been tried before.

  16. anon nurse,

    Don’t you think that this is a polarization issue? That has been used as a weapon against Pelosi? I am not claiming that she is too bright but stupid she is not.

  17. George wrote, above:

    “The cost of not prosecuting Bush and Cheney? I think we’ve already paid the price with the demise of our Constitution, the subjective application of the rule of law, and the final obliteration of U.S. moral authority.”

    Another way to put this is that the United States has become a dictatorship. The President has the power to arrest whomever he wants, imprison him or her for life without a trial, and torture him or her to death. Obama could do any of these things to me for posting this comment. If he doesn’t, it is because he is more benign than some future dictator-presidents may be, but by not prosecuting Bush and Cheney, he will have allowed them have the power that Bush and Cheney seized, with Congress’s acquiescence. (Congress is to blame too, in that it could enact legislation requiring a special prosecutor to prosecute Bush administration war crimes; it doesn’t need Obama’s approval to do so.)

  18. Abraham Lincoln claimed, or perhaps wished, in the Gettysburg Address that we are “a nation of laws and not of men.” But yet today, because men like Cheney, who now boldly admit to advocating war crimes, are deemed “too high to prosecute” (sounds a lot like “too big to fail”) the laws are widely judged to not apply to them, which is the crux of our problems as a nation today.

    Thomas Paine proclaimed that in America, “the law is King!” but in modern America, people like Cheney are judged to be the new kings and the is only applied to those who can’t afford to purchase this status.

    As Steve Earle said, “it just gets tougher every day to sit around and watch it as it slips away.”

  19. Howard,

    Then let’s prosecute people in the Clinton administration.

    This isn’t political score keeping, this is about the law.
    Torture is illegal and evil (which is a word I hardly ever use). Not prosecuting those involved in torture is illegal and evil.

  20. Howard, what’s the evidence of that? And what difference does it make except that, if it’s true, then whoever was responsible for it should be prosecuted too. You’re not suggesting, are you, that two war crimes make a right?

  21. Howard’s comment, “Waterboarding took place under Bill Clinton too. Get over it,” suggests that he (and probably most defenders of Bush’s torture regime) think that this is only about politics — that those of us who oppose torture do so only when Republicans do it. They are wrong. Our concern is moral, not political.

  22. To be absolutely clear I am not part of the “costs don’t matter crowd,” I subscribe to legal arguments, and therefor, am part of the “rule of law crowd.” You may have read about that concept: it appears to be part of the US tradition. Under the principle that justice is blind we should apply the law without debating costs or benefits. They simply are irrelevant!

    I appreciate that at times we do not have sufficient means to prosecute every suspected criminal. However, certain crimes are/should be beyond debate, and should never require a cost vs. benefit rationale. Those types of crimes, for me, would include crimes against humanity.

  23. Tsutsugamushi, I agree with you that prosecutorial discretion should not be used to forgo prosecuting torture. But you seem to miss the point that prosecutorial discretion MAY NOT be used to forgo prosecuting torture, because the Geneva Conventions REQUIRE that torture be prosecuted. Obama is not merely making a bad choice in not prosecuting; he is breaking the law.

  24. Alan,

    Your analogy sets up a false choice. I don’t know of a single instance in history where that happened to be the case. You can make anyone agree to anything illogical if these kinds of choices are set up. It’s an argument rather akin to the “Ticking Time Bomb” argument: torture the prisoner, or the world ends. Well, then of course you torture the prisoner, but the scenario is based on so many false assumptions it’s hard to untangle them all. See here for a great discussion: http://www.progressive.org/mag_mccoy1006

    Furthermore, your ‘cost-benefit analysis’ argument is weak. I’ve heard this response from many people when faced with a difficult question. They think that CBA is magic fairy dust that can be sprinkled on a problem to make it go away. But CBA depends on pricing things. So let’s assume your approach. How do you price something like our system of law? How do you price something like human rights? How do you price lives? That is the plainly impossible task you are faced with when using CBA.

    Of course, when most people refer to CBA as a solution they don’t take into account these costs because there’s no way to price them. Or even if there is an attempt, they are usually “under-valued” because the people doing the pricing have certain interests and motives that do not coincide with, say, civil liberties. There is no such thing as an objective CBA. For instance, if the airlines and the government do a CBA on how much security to put in at airports, you can be sure that the airlines’ profits and the government’s financial/political interests get emphasized, but privacy rights not so much.

    So you see, in a CBA like the one you proposed, the public always loses. There are some things, like the sanctity of law, that are invaluable to a society.

  25. FFN said “the “Ticking Time Bomb” argument: torture the prisoner, or the world ends. Well, then of course you torture the prisoner”

    Anyone agree or disagree?

  26. Duh, you must distinguish two distinct questions: (1) should torture be legal in any circumstance?, and (2) given that torture is illegal in all circumstances, should one torture anyway in a ticking-time-bomb situation and risk being prosecuted (knowing that, if it really was a ticking-time-bomb situation and you saved numerous lives, it is unlikely that you would be prosecuted)?

  27. Duh,

    I think you’re missing my point. I don’t think we should torture anyone, ever, under any circumstances. My point was rather that reasoning from false premises gets you to a point where these kinds of immoral, illegal decisions might seem logical. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of our political debate is conducted. Like in the presidential debates: “Would you use nuclear weapons if…” or the ticking time bomb scenario.

  28. Henry,

    SO are you saying that torture could be considered acceptable in some circumstances? And if it is performed in a circumstance that you find acceptable, it would then be acceptable if it was not prosecuted?

  29. Duh,

    Really?

    I’ll let you in on a little secret that pretty much everyone (especially people who torture).

    Torture has one only purpose: To get whoever you’re torturing to say whatever you want them to say, even if what you want them to say isn’t true. As a method of getting information, it doesn’t work.

    So in essence your question is like asking: You know there’s a bomb in the building, do you ritually slaughter a goat and consult the entrails or not?

  30. Gyges,

    I can’t prove to you that torture is effective, and you can’t prove that it isn’t effective. For the benefit of this argument, let’s just operate on the premise that it does work.

  31. @The Artist Formerly Known As FFN: You just made a cost benefit analysis. You might weigh the “rule of law” very high, but you are still making a judgment call applying your own values and perceptions to the analysis. I personally weigh other things I outlined as more important–you call those things “false choices”, but I don’t see it that way–they are to me pretty clear opportunity costs, and (giving the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt here) I think they see it the same way. War crimes prosecutions or the domestic agenda outlined above? It is unfortunately a very real and unavoidable choice. Life does not allow you to have it all–you have to pick and choose.

  32. Alan & SM,

    Torture has been practiced for a very long time. Do you think it continues to be practiced because it is not effective?

    Have you ever considered that the claims of torture being ineffective are made public so that the enemy doesn’t work to improve their technique?

  33. > Do you think it continues to be practiced because it is not effective?

    No, it continues to be practiced despite the fact it is not effective.

  34. Now that Mr. Cheney has openly professed his pride in being a war criminal, it was to be expected that all of the apologists for torture would start repeating their phony arguments. There are already a couple in this thread:
    1. The economic theory of justice: This argument pretends to accept the premise that this is a nation of laws, but concludes that the prosecution of war crimes will be unsettling to the nation and will cost a lot of money. This can be translated as, “I agree we’re a nation of laws, but only if we can afford it.”
    2. The Billy’s mom lets him strangle cats, so why are you mad at me argument: This specious garbage isn’t really an argument. It’s simply a political statement. It can be translated as “I happen to favor torture and any effort to prosecute it is motivated solely by a desire to trash the previous administration.”
    3. The waterboarding is not a crime argument: It is useless to cite treaties, statutes and case law to proponents of this argument because they won’t read them.
    4. The waterboarding is an effective device for gathering information argument: Since all of the evidence is to the contrary, this really amounts to an argument that we need torture to satisfy the public’s bloodlust for vengeance. County sheriffs have been known to approve of this approach by standing by while prisoners were forcibly removed from their cells and hanged in the public square. One cannot argue rationally with lynch mobs because reason fails in the face of fear and rage.
    These arguments rely variously on false choices, false reasoning and false values. Ultimately, our obligation to investigate and prosecute war crimes is not predicated upon a concern for our reputation around the world (although that is clearly important), but upon our commitment to protecting constitutional government. If this seems far-fetched, consider what we know about human nature. Whenever anyone in a position of power is able to act contrary to law without consequences, further extra-legal actions are inevitable. The lawlessness of the Bush/Cheney regime was breathtaking in scope, and we do not yet know all of the ugly details. Our failure as a nation to aggressively respond constitutes a ratification of that lawlessness and silent permission for its continuance. When a government is permitted to ignore its own laws, that is the very definition of tyranny. The erosion of the constitution can occur much like the erosion of a hillside. It may occur slowly enough not to be noticeable on a daily basis, but the ultimate result is the same; the hill has been leveled and the constitution has become a useless piece of paper. In the end we must investigate and prosecute these crimes because the law and the constitution are all that we have.

  35. Following are portions of Ford’s justification for pardoning Nixon:

    “As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family.

    Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must. …..

    After years of bitter controversy and divisive national debate, I have been advised, and I am compelled to conclude that many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court.

    I deeply believe in equal justice for all Americans, whatever their station or former station. The law, whether human or divine, is no respecter of persons; but the law is a respecter of reality.

    The facts, as I see them, are that a former President of the United States, instead of enjoying equal treatment with any other citizen accused of violating the law, would be cruelly and excessively penalized either in preserving the presumption of his innocence or in obtaining a speedy determination of his guilt in order to repay a legal debt to society.

    During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad.”

    All of the above arguments have been offered, in one form or another, as justification for not prosecuting Cheney and his torture buddies.

    Ford was wrong then and Obama is wrong now.

    Keep in mind that Cheney was appointed by Nixon to his executive staff and Ford then made Cheney his chief of staff. The rule of law is something Cheney knows Presidents don’t respect and thus he can admit to anything without fear of retribution. Cheney can count on the “elitism” of the Presidential Club and he knows it.

  36. Gyges,

    I never said that you won’t find claims that torture doesn’t work. I provided you with a reason to make such claims.

  37. Mike A and Blouise,
    I couldn’t agree more. There is only one test here to employ. Is their evidence of a possible crime? If yes, then the Justice Department has a legal duty to investigate and if their is sufficient evidence, then prosecute. Torture is a crime,no matter what BS is employed by the right. We have prosecuted our own citizens and enemies as well, for waterboarding. When did Congress or the Courts abolish that crime?
    I also want to add that Ford did this country a great injustice when he pardoned Nixon before an investigation and a trial could be completed. He could have made a better argument after a conviction for a pardon, but not before an investigation and a trial. That issue alone made me vote against Ford when he lost his bid for a full term. We are nothing if we are not a nation of laws.

  38. @Mike Appleton: you are mistaken if you equate me with an apologist for torture. And there is BTW an economic “theory” of justice–not just a theory, but a necessity: you might be able to achieve justice in one area, at the cost of not achieving justice in many other areas. Choosing one means you have chosen against the others.

  39. Duh,

    And no evidence to support said reason.

    Why would the British intelligence agencies fix their records from WWII so that years later, when they were eventually declassified they’d show that most of the intelligence gathered from a site known for “breaking” captured German soldiers through “mental pressure” came from tricking them using information gathered from a broken code?

    Since it appears you didn’t bother to read my linked material, here’s a an excerpt dealing with that same top secret facility:

    “Contrary to what we might assume, Stephens governed Camp 020 according to a strict rule of non-physical violence. ‘Violence is taboo’, wrote Stephens in his in-house history of Camp 020, which has recently been declassified, ‘for not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information’. We can assume that if he had so desired, Stephens could easily have physically abused prisoners at the MI5 interrogation facility. It was, after all, a top-secret facility with little or no interference from outside authorities. Despite effectively having free reign to do with prisoners as he wished, Stephens outlawed the use of ‘physical pressure’ at the facility. Stephens did not do this because he was some sort of humanitarian at heart. During the course of the war 14 German agents held at Camp 020 were executed and Stephens later admitted that he wished more had been. Instead, Stephens forbade the use torture at the camp because, in his opinion, as soon as an interrogator physically abused a prisoner, the intelligence produced automatically became unreliable.

    Stephens’ axiomatic rule of non-violence at Camp 020 is supported by other contemporary records, which significantly were intended to remain permanently secret. The recently declassified wartime diary of Guy Liddell, then head of MI5’s counter-espionage department and a future Deputy Director-General of MI5, shows that Stephens sometimes went to extraordinary lengths to outlaw physical violence at Camp 020. On one occasion in September 1940, Stephens expelled a War Office interrogator from the camp for hitting a prisoner, the MI5 double-agent codenamed ‘Tate’. As Liddell noted in his diary: ‘It is quite clear to me that we cannot have this sort of thing going on in our establishment. Apart from the moral aspect of the whole thing, I am quite convinced that these Gestapo methods do not pay in the long run’. Stephens saw to it that the officer in question never returned to the camp, and, indeed, from that point on, only MI5 interrogators were allowed to interrogate prisoners at Camp 020. ”

    So again, please explain why I should ignore all the evidence? Especially when the context of said evidence in no way relates to the matter at hand.

  40. Duh,

    Also you said I couldn’t prove that torture isn’t effective. I provided evidence from a variety of sources, some current, some historical, which you dismissed out of hand with some bizarre “that’s what THEY want you to believe” theory.

    Perhaps, for the sake of accuracy, you should have said “you can’t prove to me, because I don’t believe anything that might show I’m wrong.”

  41. Alan:

    I have no problem with your cost-benefit analysis of justice so long as you factor in your cost structure the price we will have to pay for being viewed as a hypocrite, our loss of prestige around the world, and the effect that selling our self-respect in exchange for a little temporary safety has on us. Add to that charge, the toll left by unleashing torturers, sadists, and psychopaths on our civilian population, and I think your ledger will never balance in favor of being a war criminal.

    Franklin understood those, like you, who engage in market-based freedom and its cousin, market-based honor:

    “They who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  42. @meso: I was against the Iraq War from the beginning, and the “Patriot” Act, and torture, and a whole lot of other things. I am in favor of applying a cost-benefit analysis to the pursuit of terrorists, as well as to the pursuit of war criminals. And I would not willingly give up liberty for the perception of safety. All that is to say (a) my conscience is clear and (b) it was not my choice, it was a choice made by the voters in this country, and we had no choice but to abide by them.

  43. Alan:

    As I say, I have no problem with cost-benefit justice (we do it all the time), but one needs to factor in all the costs when national honor sits on the scale.

  44. Duh asks, “SO are you saying that torture could be considered acceptable in some circumstances? And if it is performed in a circumstance that you find acceptable, it would then be acceptable if it was not prosecuted?”

    Again, we must separate the question of acceptable and legal. I do not think that it should ever be legal. If the fictional ticking time bomb scenario really occurred, and someone tortured, at the risk of being prosecuted, and saved lives, then it would be acceptable if it was not prosecuted. If someone tortured in a good faith belief that he would save lives but didn’t, then he should be prosecuted, because we do not want to encourage violating the laws against torture; anyone who violates them ought to risk prosecution.

  45. Alan:

    I think you’re making a semantic argument here. I guess it is a CBA in a very abstract sense (But then, what isn’t? I suppose that’s your point).

    I don’t like referring to the rule of law or civil liberties or human rights as things that would factor in to a CBA because I just assume that no one would want to throw those things away. The benefits are infinite, so how could the CBA even apply?

    But we’ve gotten sidetracked. Back to your original point: “I agree with the decision not to prosecute Bush administration officials because I think the costs outweigh the benefits, but if the evidence warrants it, I think they should be referred to the Hague for potential prosecution.”

    Benefits of prosecution:
    – upholding the rule of law
    – ensuring justice for torture victims
    – restoring international prestige
    – lessening worldwide anti-American sentiment
    – discouraging future lawbreaking by high political officials

    Costs of prosecution:
    – Ending Cheney’s political career. Actually, this might be a benefit.

  46. I think that Obama should prosecute Bush, Cheney, and their fellow torturers, but we should also turn them over to the Hague for prosecution (just the way someone can be prosecuted under federal and state law for the same conduct if it violates both laws). It is important to turn them over to the Hague for two reasons: (1) to demonstrate our willingness to recognize international law and to reenter the family of nations, (2) because the U.S. has little credibility; if anyone were acquitted, the rest of the world would understandably conclude that the trial had been fixed, whether it had been or not.

  47. I suggest we wait until the special investigator, Mr. Durham, gives his report to Mr. Holder and see if Mr. Holder initiates charges before we start fulminating on whether the Obama administration is “soft on war crimes”.

    Mr. Durham had been tasked by the Bush’s AG Mukasey to investigate the CIA destruction of tapes of interrogations, and by the Obama’s AG Holder to reopen that investigation and expand it to techniques the CIA used in interrogations including those overseas.

    I would not be surprised if it took longer than 6 months to complete that investigation. Until we hear that no charges will result from these investigations, I will be content to wait on events. Not everything should be a 24 hour turnaround – especially justice.

  48. > Is a public admission the same as an admission under oath?

    Any alleged statement by a party is admissible for the truth of the matter. The prosecution must first produce admissible evidence that the statement was made and the defendant can then deny or explain the statement, or chose to remain silent. Its then up to the jury to decide what they believe. Note that this applies equally to private statements, even ones allegedly made to police informants who are testifying pursuant to a leniency deal with the prosecution. For example, if I am willing to take the stand and testify that I overheard you say in a bar that you had sex with your 10 year old daughter, you can then be prosecuted and convicted of child rape based solely on my testimony. See for example the prosecution and conviction of Michael Skakel.

  49. Alan:

    Sorry to take issue with you on the law, but out of court statements by a party are only admissible if they are contrary to that party’s position at trial. Thus, a self-serving statement would not be admissible as a hearsay exception/exemption. Also, in Virginia as in most states, your statement that you had sex with a minor would not land you in jail, as a confession without some corroboration will not, in and of itself, support a conviction. However, the corroboration need only be slight to prove a corpus dilecti if all the facts necessary to prove the crime are admitted. Canady v. Commonwealth, 214 Va. 331, 333, 200 S.E.2d 575, 576 (1973)

  50. I sort of like the idea of the politicians knowing that if they commit crimes they are prosecuted. I would go one step further and look at passing bad laws/legislation as criminal behavior too.

  51. @meso

    You are correct, I omitted that part: the party admission exception to the hearsay rule only applies when the statement is offered by an opposing party, see for example the Massachusetts Guide to Evidence, section 801(d)(2)(A), http://www.mass.gov/courts/sjc/guide-to-evidence/801.htm, and the proposed evidence remains subject to other objections such as relevance, etc.

    I was not aware of the confession corroboration rule. Interestingly, Massachusetts was that last holdout and did not adopt that rule until 1984. See http://masscases.com/cases/app/55/55massappct821.html. It appears you are correct that there would have to be some other evidence that a crime was committed. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me.

  52. Waterboarding is not torture, a position that no one here seems to have considered. Torture is what the NVA did to captured American pilots. Waterboarding is not particulary painful, does no harm, and leaves no permanent injury…as a matter of fact, faux drowning is damned unpleasant but is otherwise harmless.

    One has to hate Bush (and Cheney, etc.) to confuse waterboarding with torture. Apparently everyone here does just that.

  53. I think Cheney has one foot in the grave (poor health). And I think THAT is why he admits to his sin (even if he is proud of it).

    That said, screw the Hague.

  54. Tim,

    Or rather than hating Bush it could be that we all have read the legal definition of torture from the UN Convention Against Torture, and have come to the conclusion that water boarding fits the definition.

  55. Water boarding isn’t torture!?!?

    I dispute that, but even so, then there wasn’t ANY torture? Cheney knew about it all.

    And how do they determine WHO to apply the torture to??

    How many innocents were tortured with the “guilty”??

    Plus how bad would it have had to been for Alyssa Peterson to kill herself over their treatment??

    People WERE tortured and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, & Rice knew about it!

    These people need to go on trial.

  56. I don’t understand why a UN definition applies, but it is refreshing to note that you all have “come to the conclusion that waterboarding fits the definition”, a classic expression of opinion. Tieing a prisoner’s hands behind his back, throwing the other end of the rope over a pipe or rafter above the prisoner, and pulling the prisoner’s arms upward until both shoulders are dislocated, leaving the prisoner in excrutiating pain and with permanent injury (a commonplace action by the NVA)…now THAT’S torture. Compared to that, waterboarding is a day in the park.

    Whether faux drowning with no infliction of physical pain or injury, permanent or otherwise, is “torture” is not really a matter of opinion. It’s not, without torturing the definition of torture (UN’s or Wikepedia’s). If not an ideological hatred of all things Bush, what could be the basis for choosing to do so?

  57. Tim Watson,
    The United States has prosecuted our own soldiers for waterboarding and enemy soldiers for doing it so it has already been decided by US courts that it is a crime.

  58. Tom Watson, ignorant people simply don’t know the truth. Wilfully ignorant people could know the truth, but intentionally avoid it. Then there are the liars, those who know the truth, but persist in denying it because they either disagree or believe that the truth does not square with their views of the universe. Neither your “opinion” nor mine have any more relevance to the criminality of waterboarding than they do to the question of whether gravity exists. We court-martialed U.S. troops for waterboarding as far back as the Spanish-American War. We prosecuted Japanese officers for waterboarding after World War II. In 1983, during Ronald Reagan’s first term, four east Texas deputy sheriffs were sentenced to four years in federal prison for waterboarding. The sheriff who authorized it was sentenced to ten. Those are facts. If you don’t like the facts, the appropriate remedy is to lobby for a change in the law so that it fits more neatly into your personal views of what ought to constitute “torture.” In the meantime, you ought to at least refrain from torturing the truth.

  59. Evil, as a force that drives certain individuals to extraordinary lengths, always embodies certain characteristics:

    Evil people are artists of disguise, morally and physically. (Think of the child molester dressed in the robes of a priest presiding at the communion table.)

    Scapegoating others for his errors is a common tactic of evil.

    And in the end, no matter how hard he tries, evil has to brag.

    For those who have not already done so, read M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie” and then take another long, hard look at Cheney.

  60. Thanks, rafflaw. I just wish I knew why squelching lies from the Bush/Cheney cabal is like playing whack-a-mole.

  61. I am appalled that some people defend torture with so much conviction. I know it can be difficult for some to understand the full meaning of something that they haven’t been in direct contact with, but I still can’t believe it when I see it.

  62. In 1947 a Japanese officer was found guilty of committing war crimes, but those crimes included a different version of waterboarding. The subject was strapped on a stretcher that was tilted so that his feet were in the air and head near the floor, and small amounts of water were poured over his face, leaving him gasping for air until he agreed to talk.

    The Japanese officer did it to a U.S. civilian, not an unlawful enemy combatant.

    In Texas, the waterboarding was performed by the Sheriff and his deputies on U.S. Citizens, not unlawful enemy combatants.

    Unlawful enemy combatants are deserving of no protections. They’re not civilians and they’re not soldiers. Unlawful enemy combatants are the lowest form of life on the planet. We’re not going to see anyone prosecuted for waterboarding unlawful enemy combatants. While the international community is not likely to make a statement condoning waterboarding, they are likely to look away when it comes to waterboarding unlawful enemy combatants. They consider unlawful enemy combatants to operate outside of international law. As such, they seem willing to let them suffer the consequences.

  63. 29 Tsutsugamushi
    1, February 15, 2010 at 11:17 am

    “I appreciate that at times we do not have sufficient means to prosecute every suspected criminal. However, certain crimes are/should be beyond debate, and should never require a cost vs. benefit rationale. Those types of crimes, for me, would include crimes against humanity.”

    Here’s the thing for me though. Everytime I hear people talk about waterboarding I get this Larry Miller voice in my head: We invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. We offed Saddam Hussein. We waterboarded KSM. Hold on! Go back! We waterboarded KSM. Oh yeah-that’s the last straw. Time to prosecute.

    No president is ever going to go after a prior administration for something like this. They won’t be hoisted on their own effing petard.

    The UN spends half of their time and money raping 12 year olds so really, who would have the moral authority much less military power to follow something like this through?

    Then there’s the Blackwater Praetorian Guard. I guess your best bet is to get a gated subdivision in Dallas renamed “Elba”.

  64. Artist Formerly Known As FFL

    “How do you price something like our system of law? How do you price something like human rights? How do you price lives? That is the plainly impossible task you are faced with when using CBA.”

    My question is, why is the Obama administration spending so much prosecuting KSM when they not only said he’s guilty but as good as executed?

    I suppose they could release him on the Bonneville Salt Flats and give him a fighting chance against a Predator with a Hellfire missle.

  65. @Duh: We did not outlaw torture to protect the victim. We outlawed it to protect our own troops who someday might fall into enemy hands; we outlawed it to protect our reputation in the world and our ability to form alliances and relationships; we outlawed it so others will help us, for example, by providing us with information that they would not if they thought we would use it to torture; we outlawed it because we realized it does not produce useful intelligence, and in fact harms our ability to engage in effective interrogations techniques that actually do provide actionable information; we outlawed it to protect our own sense of humanity and ethics, and to express our own revulsion for the practice, etc. Your statements about what the victim deserves are completely irrelevant.

  66. Henry
    1, February 15, 2010 at 11:24 am
    “Tsutsugamushi, I agree with you that prosecutorial discretion should not be used to forgo prosecuting torture. But you seem to miss the point that prosecutorial discretion MAY NOT be used to forgo prosecuting torture, because the Geneva Conventions REQUIRE that torture be prosecuted. Obama is not merely making a bad choice in not prosecuting; he is breaking the law.”

    Again, our carrier battle groups are bigger than yours. Who’s going to prosecute Obama?

    Hello President Pelosi? I don’t think so.

  67. Duh,
    Alan is correct and you may not want to hear it, but even unlawful enemy combatants are entitled to Geneva protections. Besides, hundreds of the so-called unlawful enemy combatants, as designated by Bush/Cheney et al, were in fact totally innocent. Are you suggesting that just because any President says they are enemy combatants, it is ok to do anything to them? If torture is ok, even though there is no evidence that they are actually combatants or members of the enemy? Can you kill them without recourse? Torture is illegal, period, no matter who you do it to and the international community has already agreed to that. It is time to bring all criminals to justice. No matter who they are or were.

  68. Alan,

    Show me the law you are citing. Show me where it says that waterboarding is torture. Then show me where it states that law applies to unlawful enemy combatants. When you’re done, you can tell me what these unlawful enemy combatants have done to those that they have captured.

    Our enemies that operate within the rules set forth at the Geneva Convention have no fear of being treated ruthlessly by the U.S.

    If I was in charge of “America’s reputation”, the message would be clear. Unlawful enemy combatants have no rights or privileges. Lawful enemy combatants will be treated IAW the GC. I won’t sacrifice my own in order to be friends with others.

  69. Duh
    1, February 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm
    Alan & SM,

    “Torture has been practiced for a very long time. Do you think it continues to be practiced because it is not effective?

    Have you ever considered that the claims of torture being ineffective are made public so that the enemy doesn’t work to improve their technique?”

    Phil Jones says it doesn’t work, that’s good enough for me.

  70. Gyges
    1, February 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm
    Duh,

    “Really? So, no experts say that it doesn’t work?”

    What jumped out at me was,”…not systematically reliable.”

    That’s not exactly the same things as it doesn’t work.

    It sounds like the gas pedal on a Toyota Corolla.

  71. Defending the practice of torture on the basis of it being done to “enemy combatants” is disingenuous, to say the least. How do they explain torturing those who were later found to actually be innocent (AKA: civilians)? Rather turns the notion of justice on its head.

    The crux of the matter is fundamental to our system of government, in that we are all subject to the Rule of Law which is not some vague thing, but rather it is the founding principle of our system of government which specifically “provides that decisions should be made by the application of […] laws without the intervention of discretion in their application”–allowing discretion in the application of laws is an invitation to tyranny.

    Would any District Attorney seriously address a crime that was committed with the preference, for expedience’s sake to let it go, to simply “move forward”? Such a suggestion makes a complete mockery of the Rule of Law. “Moving forward” in willful ignorance simply is not an ethical or lawful option, and makes us all complicit in these illegal (and yes, evil) acts.

  72. rafflaw said “Besides, hundreds of the so-called unlawful enemy combatants, as designated by Bush/Cheney et al, were in fact totally innocent.”

    Were any of them waterboarded? If so, I think they would have a pretty good case.

  73. kathleen said “How do they explain torturing those who were later found to actually be innocent (AKA: civilians)?”

    Who are these innocent people who were tortured?

  74. Duh,
    many of them were tortured when grabbed and sent to black sites for even more torture and then they were eventually released sometimes 4-7 years later. Waterboarding is just one torture technique that the United States and the world have outlawed. Cheney was not just talking about waterboarding. Cheney ordered and authorized illegal interrogation techniques that the Bush regime tried to rename as “enhanced” interrogation techniques. One more question Duh. Why would they have a pretty good case only if they were waterboarded and not if they were subjected to the other illegal techniques that were utilized by the US under orders from Bush/Cheney?

  75. Torture has not and will not generate reliable intelligence.

    Torture enrages groups whose members it is used on, risking our long-term national security.

    The lack of torture prosecutions is further evidence that there is a ruling class.

    Torture is an active policy of the US government and will eventually be used for lesser and lesser crimes on more and more people, primarily US citizens.

    We know about only a small fraction of the torture done by or at the request of the United States.

    Americans do not understand how widely US torture policy is known and understood as a hallmark of a rogue nation.

    Torture’s ultimate benefit to government is silencing dissent.

  76. rafflaw,

    You’re going to need a bigger shovel.

    Please cite the portion of the Geneva Convention that applies to unlawful combatants. When you’re done you can show us what authority Cheney was operating under when he “ordered and authorized illegal interrogation techniques”.

    You call me an apologist because you need to make it personal. That’s not acceptable. If you get backed into a corner just admit that you were just repeating something you heard and someone will likely provide support for your claim. If it exists.

  77. Duh,

    Has Abu Ghraib already fallen down the memory hole?

    Please see:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Ghraib_torture_and_prisoner_abuse

    and note the last sentence of the second paragraph:

    Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Ghraib, demoted for her lack of oversight regarding the abuse, estimated later that 90% of detainees in the prison were innocent.

    The US has made releases of those formerly classified as enemy combatants contingent upon their signing releases stating that they will not sue regarding their treatment–talk about signing a contract “under duress”…

    There are vast resources that can point you to the information you seek–try googling.

    In short, there have been news reports too numerous to count over the past ten years about detainees being cleared and released after suffering years of confinement as so-called enemy combatants; I really don’t know where to start. Have you been following this topic all these years? (It’s not like I’ve kept a scrap book with their names and photos…)

  78. My quotation marks got lost, above. Should have been:

    “Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Ghraib, demoted for her lack of oversight regarding the abuse, estimated later that 90% of detainees in the prison were innocent.”

    – from the link provided.

  79. “The US has made releases of those formerly classified as enemy combatants contingent upon their signing releases stating that they will not sue regarding their treatment–talk about signing a contract “under duress”…”

    That sounds like a contract that would hold up in an international court. Doesn’t it?

    If there are vast resources, you should be able to provide more than a Wikipedia article, that references a salon article that is based on the recanted statement of one person.

  80. rafflaw said “Why would they have a pretty good case only if they were waterboarded and not if they were subjected to the other illegal techniques that were utilized by the US under orders from Bush/Cheney?”

    You missed the point. They would have a pretty good case because they were not unlawful enemy combatants. As such they would enjoy the benefits of the laws protecting noncombatants. There are rules that cover their treatment. Those same rules don’t apply to unlawful enemy combatants.

  81. Duh,
    I think if you read the Hamdan case it will answer your questions. I would have answered more quickly, but my first response must have gotten blocked due to the length or the links to the sources. “In a major defeat for President George W. Bush with potentially far-reaching implications for his conduct of the “war on terror”, the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday ruled that military tribunals established by the Pentagon to try suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba violated the U.S. constitution.
    Writing for a 5-3 court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens also rejected the administration’s long-held position that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to suspected al Qaeda detainees or so-called “unlawful combatants”.
    In so doing, Stevens appeared also to reject the administration’s legal claims that the Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress after the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, combined with his position as commander-in-chief in wartime, gave Bush sweeping powers to ignore existing laws and treaties.” http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=33808 Here is a link to the full Hamdan decision for you. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05-184.ZO.html Isn’t the Supreme Court the ultimate authority in the US for deciding what is legal or not?
    Who is backed into a corner now?

  82. puzzling wrote: “Torture’s ultimate benefit to government is silencing dissent.” BINGO! That is the only thing torture is “good” for–creating fear and terror among the masses, of great value to despots and tyrants.

    Duh, I heard Janis Karpinski make that same statement on the air, and if you have a source for her recanting, please provide it.

  83. Tim,

    The UN definition applies because we ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, which according to the Constitution means it is “The Law of the Land” which means that according to US law:

    “…the term “torture” means 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.”

    So that’s why the UN definition relevant to the discussion, because not only is it the UN definition, it’s the legal definition in the U.S. as well.

    Now as to the severity of the pain and suffering, I refer you to two people who have been waterboarded for the express purpose of proving that it’s not torture: Christopher Hitchens and Eric Muller. Both of who recanted their early views and stated without hesitation that it was torture.

  84. Duh,

    Now that we’ve established that any reasonable person would consider Water boarding torture under U.S. laws, let’s look at that pesky UN convention and see if it applies to “enemy combatants.”

    Let’s see Article 2 says “Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

    2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

    3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. ”

    No circumstances whatsoever would include the identity of the person being tortured, but in case you’re still wondering, here’s Article 4:

    “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.

    2. Each State Party shall make these offenses punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.”

    Well “all acts” would seem to include acts against non-nationals as well as nationals.

    Hmmmm, but how do we know that it happened within the jurisdiction of the U.S.? Luckily we have Article 5

    “1. Each State Party shall take such measures as may be necessary to establish its jurisdiction over the offenses referred to in article 4 in the following cases:

    (a) When the offenses are committed in any territory under its jurisdiction or on board a ship or aircraft registered in that State;

    (b) When the alleged offender is a national of that State;

    (c) When the victim is a national of that State if that State considers it appropriate.”

    I forget are CIA agents considered U.S. nationals?

  85. So Cheney is in favour of waterboarding, therefore he will not object to the suggestion that he be waterboarded over the Plame leak.

  86. rafflaw,

    You are aware that the SCOTUS decision in Hamdan was virtually erased by the updated military commissions act, aren’t you?

    kathleen,

    “I heard Janis Karpinski make that same statement on the air, and if you have a source for her recanting, please provide it.”

    Kapinski was demoted because she did not know what was going on in her prisons. She was the one that originally stated that she was unaware of what had been taking place. To later change her mind, after being demoted, is highly suspect.

    Gyges,

    Didn’t the U.S. ratify the UN Convention against torture with certain exceptions and declarations?

  87. “II. The Senate’s advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:

    (1)(a) That with reference to Article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from: (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.”

    Under that definition, I don’t think waterboarding would be considered to be torture.

  88. Why Won’t U.S. Judges / Prosecutors Enforce the Law?

    We know of gutless judges here in the U.S. because of nothing being done regarding the U.S. Government’s innumerable war crimes for years. Hitler had the same type of legal system – sellouts, fascists – Nazis!

  89. Duh,

    Let me save us some time:

    I’ll ask, “what part of the definition isn’t met?”

    You’ll say, “the pain isn’t severe”

    Then I’ll say “So you are one of those armchair experts who are willing to disregard the testimony of doctors and those who have been water boarded, because someone with no first hand knowledge of this despicable act told you it wasn’t that bad.”

    If I’m wrong, then please let me exactly what part of the U.S. understanding of “torture” isn’t met by water-boarding?

  90. Anonymously Yours:

    “Don’t you think that this is a polarization issue? That has been used as a weapon against Pelosi? I am not claiming that she is too bright but stupid she is not.”

    If you happen to see this, could you elaborate?

  91. Duh, I see the debate continues. In all candor, you have been reduced to simply being bullheaded on this issue. From all of the accounts I have read over the last few years, the sensation produced by waterboarding is that of drowning. If you don’t believe that drowning produces imminent fear of death, you are not a rational person. Moreover, your interpretation of the statutory language expressly conflicts with judicial decisions on the issue. You may have an academic argument to make, but that will require something other than a purely subjective opinion. Perhaps you should submit to waterboarding under circumstances in which you are not permitted to control the procedure. Then get back to us.

  92. Good idea Mike——lets get “duh’ on the table, put a towel over his head and pour away! Lets see how fast he changes his view. From everyone who has been waterboarded–whether it was the detainees, Mancow or Christopher Hutchens—they have ALL said they feel like theyre drowning. Tell me duh——like Mike said—–doesnt drowning produce a fear of imminent death??? Can you find one person on planet Earth that has been rescued from a near-death drowning that will say they did NOT think they were going to die? I bet you couldnt find ONE. The only people who wouldnt say that are…well….the ones who died.

  93. Mike Appleton,

    “If you don’t believe that drowning produces imminent fear of death, you are not a rational person.”

    Exactly! The statutory language specifically states that we cannot threaten them with loss of life. However, we cannot control what they think.

    Waterboarding sucks. It’s scary as hell. It is generally accepted to produce imminent fear of death by all accounts. But it is not intended to cause death. Performing a scary procedure without the intent of killing, and without threatening to kill is not a violation.

    Why do you think Congress specifically modified the language from that of the UN? Hmmm? Are you starting to figure out that waterboarding was a tool that Congress considered useful for some time now?

    “Moreover, your interpretation of the statutory language expressly conflicts with judicial decisions on the issue.”

    I’m not aware of any judicial decisions on the issue. You must have read decisions that I have not. Could you please provide us with a link to them?

  94. ardith:

    “Re: Support for “waterboarding”. So is most of America in support of it for terrorists.”

    ************************

    I am interested in your moral philosophy that popularity equals propriety. It would have served you well in Salem or Birmingham assuming you were on the popular side and not that of those terrifying witches or African-Americans.

  95. Hey “duh” [by the way, your moniker describes you perfectly….DUHHHH]

    The portion that YOU posted YOURSELF says “the threat of imminent death”—–the THREAT of imminent death. You dont think waterboarding produces a THREAT of imminent death? Stop changing the subject douchebag—-NOWHERE in the shit you posted YOURSELF does it say ANYTHING about whether it will CAUSE death—it says “the THREAT of….” meaning it doesnt matter what the intent is of the person inflicting the waterboarding. Are you saying the “threat” can be just WORDS? Are you saying that if you walked up to me and said “Im gonna kill you”, that THAT is torture? After all—that IS a “threat of imminent death”—RIGHT? It CLEARLY was referring to a physical or mental threat of death—whether you think it will happen or not, and whether it is intentional or not. I have no idea why anyone is focusing on DEATH anyway. You dont have to DIE for it to be torture! MOST of the things you posted that constitutes torture had nothing to do with death—so why are you focusing on the death aspect so much? Do you NOT know that the United States prosecuted Japanese soldiers for waterboarding Americans during WWII? And why IS that? Because Japan is the ONLY country that is not allowed to waterboard? NO, because its a war crime, thats why.

  96. From “The Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy”

    “Torture includes such practices as searing with hot irons, burning at the stake, electric shock treatment to the genitals, cutting out parts of the body, e.g. tongue, entrails or genitals, severe beatings, suspending by the legs with arms tied behind back, applying thumbscrews, inserting a needle under the fingernails, drilling through an unanesthetized tooth, making a person crouch for hours in the ‘Z’ position, waterboarding (submersion in water or dousing to produce the sensation of drowning), and denying food, water or sleep for days or weeks on end.”

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/torture/#DefTor

  97. From what I know of Professor Turley, he would not engage in the sort of hate-filled diatribes presented here, nor would he approve of them. You all need to move on to MoveOn.Org or some such web site where adherence to fact, moderation in dialogue, and avoidance of serious discourse are not only discouraged but also are positively prohibited. You are convincing no one but yourselves, and you obviously need no convincing.

    That’s a shame, on an otherwise refreshing and interesing web site.

  98. Tim,

    Then you must never have read a single word he’s written on Water boarding, nor listened to an interview on the subject, nor looked into some of the cases he takes on.

    Buddha,

    One lives to be of service, and drink good beer.

  99. I understand that Professor Turley thinks waterboarding constitutes torture, and that he vigorously disagrees with just about every action taken by everyone in the Bush Administration. But he, at least, argues without emotion (and certainly without hatred) and attemps to be persuasive in a reasoned manner.

    I happen to disagree vigorously with Professor Turley on the issue of whether or not waterboarding as conducted by the US on three terrorists in custody is far from any reasonable definition of torture, and I think I am fairly reasonably aware of the facts of the matter (aware enough to know that much of what appears in this comment section as “proof” that waterboarding is torture is pure bunk). Hard as it may be to contemplate, Professor Turley may be wrong on this issue, and I think he is.

    But you all (or at least most of you) are not debating an issue or arguing for a point of view. You assume the proposition and in a most vile manner condemn the actors, quarreling among yourselves only whether Cheney should be hung or shot.

    That’s what they do at MoveOn.org, and that’s where you all should take this vituperation.

  100. Tim,

    The great thing about written discussions is you can read what’s written. I just skimmed through the conversation (and encourage you to do the same). Guess how many comments I found calling for anything other than a trial for Cheney? Two.

    Sure looks like we’re not the ones unwilling to face verifiable facts.

  101. Tim,

    You meant that a high profile lawyer wouldn’t approve of a bunch of people agreeing with him on his website as hyperbole?

    Or were you trying to change the subject from the fact that you don’t have anywhere near the quality of evidence to back up your opinion, by painting those who disagree with you as “hate filled” and unthinking?

    Since other than simply saying that our reasoning and citations were “bunk” you’ve done absolutely nothing to prove us wrong, I’m leaning towards the second one.

    Yes I’m being a jerk. You’re trying to justify something that even if you’re right and it’s not technically torture is still cruel and unusual punishment; this is politer treatment than your arguments deserve.

  102. I have argued on a number of occasions that waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal. I am disturbed by the number of people who honestly assert that the propriety of what we do to other human beings is to be measured by the resulting benefits to ourselves. Arguments based upon the law and secular values do not appear to be the least bit persuasive, so I will attempt a more theological approach. The following is from the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor” of John Paul II: “[W]hatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; There exist acts which per se and in themselves, independently of circumstances, are always seriously wrong by reason of their object

  103. Ignore the foregoing. The correct quote is as follows:{W}hatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity…all these and the like are a disgrace, and as long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honor due to the Creator.” The fact that otherwise serious-minded people engage in debate over whether it is acceptable to adopt torture and abuse as policies worthy of this nation illustrates the degree to which the body politic has become contaminated over the past eight years.

  104. Well said Mike A! The torture proponents are simply in favor of anything Fox News tells them they should be in favor of. The facts are never an obstacle for them.

  105. Mike A.

    What rafflaw and CEJ said.

    **********

    rafflaw–

    “The torture proponents are simply in favor of anything Fox News tells them they should be in favor of.”

    Let me add: These same folks are against anything Fox News tells them they should be against.

    That’s why we call them dittoheads.

  106. Gyges…I am grateful for the “politer” treatment than I deserve.

    I didn’t accuse anyone here of being “unthinking”; the vileness and vituperation contained in almost all posts on this site and the almost blind insistence that a method of interrogation involving no pain, no injury, and no permanent effects is equal to “searing with a hot iron, burning at the stake, electric shock treatment to the genitals…” is, at the same time, laughable, sad, and clearly the result of a collective hatred of Bush and anyone associated with him…that’s what I said, and believe.

    But enough of this. You all are apparently not going to take my advice and move on to MoveOn.Org. That’s a shame; you would fit in quite well there.

  107. “Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.” – M.M.K. Gandhi

    “The small man thinks that small acts of goodness are of no benefit, and does not do them; and that small deeds of evil do no harm, and does not refrain from them. Hence, his wickedness becomes so great that it cannot be concealed, and his guilt so great that it cannot be pardoned.” – Confucius

    “The greatest penalty of evildoing – namely, to grow into the likeness of bad men.” – Plato

    “It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.” – Buddha (the real one)

  108. Things are the same up here, and it seems that I have come down with a Great White North cold……ahhhh choooo!!!

  109. Canadian,

    “I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” – Hunter S. Thompson

    But you can’t go by me. I’m peculiar.

    Perhaps just some hot tea and good night’s rest.

  110. WASHINGTON — Justice Department lawyers showed “poor judgment” but did not commit professional misconduct when they authorized CIA interrogators to use waterboarding and other harsh tactics at the height of the U.S. war on terrorism, an internal review released Friday found.

    The decision closes the book on one of the major lingering investigations into the counterterrorism policies of George W. Bush’s administration. President Barack Obama campaigned on abolishing the simulated drowning technique of waterboarding and other tactics that he called torture, but he left open the question of whether anyone would be punished for authorizing such methods.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/6876073.html

  111. BIL,
    I’m having the hot tea as I type, I’m off to the pharmacy to get the drugs in the next half hour ( after I drop my studly son off at the local hug & slug ), I am teetering on the rim of insanity after an insane week, and the sex….well I’ll choose not to comment on that in this forum!
    Thank-you for your valued advice and well wishes

  112. Looking for the pharmaceutical variety too. Always was a afraid of homemade. Home grown a different story. lol.

    So 222 are not readily available anymore? Too bad.

  113. If water boarding is neither torture nor illegal, why did the US execute Japanese soldiers for water boarding Americans during WW II, pray tell?

  114. Mr. Cagle: Quick answer: it didn’t.

    The US executed Japanese war criminals for torturing American and other Allied prisoners of war. The torture included very brutal methods, some of which are described in the Stanford list, above. Some of the Japanese war criminals had also used a much more severe form of waterboarding…

    You can research this information on the web…but you must be careful not to try to do so at a left-wing hate site like MoveOn.Org or the Daily Kos.

    Find a reputable source. Then take the time to read what the Japanese war criminals actually did to prisoners for which they were tried and executed. Then exercise your own curiosity and wonder why leftists who hate the US, Bush, and everyone associated with him would deliberately mislead you.

  115. Mr. Watson:

    I’m afraid tis you that needs to do your homework, rather than letting Faux (er, I meant Fox) “News” think for you.

  116. Mr. Cagle, that’s a cute reply, and somewhat insulting (intentional, I’m sure)…but for Christ’s sake, get any reputable history of the Second World War and its aftermath and learn the truth about the war crimes trials in Japan. This isn’t rocket science, and the truth is easy to find.

    You’ve been misled about the basis of the convictions of some Japanese military people, for the purpose, it seems clear, of persuading you that what Cheney supported has previouly been “declared”, in some fashion, by the American government to have been criminal action. If you’ll do a little homework you’ll learn this is not true, and that you have been duped. No need to apologize to me once you’re convinced…it’s enought for me that at least one more American will have been disabused of leftist propaganda.

  117. Yeah, Watson, but it’s you spreading the bullshit propaganda.

    GOP Presidential Nominee McCain made the following claim: “Following World War II war crime trials were convened. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding.” – 11/29/07, St. Petersberg, FL.

    National Review Online, that bastion of right wing drivel, contested McCain’s assertion, saying that he was thinking of the case of Yukio Asano who received a sentence of 15 years hard labor.

    The bottom line is both you and the National Review are wrong, Watson. And you are wrong in the defense of a war criminal.

    The Pulitzer Prize winning Politifact of the St. Petersberg Times said (with multiple sources of historical confirmation) that “McCain is referencing the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as ‘water cure,’ ‘water torture’ and ‘waterboarding,’ according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning.” Politifact also reported, “A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps.”

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2007/dec/18/john-mccain/history-supports-mccains-stance-on-waterboarding/

    So how about you stowing your Neocon revisionist history bullshit propaganda, Watson. There is a lie going on here and it’s yours in propagation.

    Waterboarding is Federal crime and we’ve not only prosecuted Japanese officers for the crime, but American law enforcement. In 1983, a Texas sheriff named James Parker got a 10 year prison sentence and the deputies who helped him got 4 year sentences. Their crime? Waterboarding confessions to drug offenses out of prisoners.

    So how about a little less blatant bullshit in your attempts at revision, sport. Because the facts will bite you in the propagandist ass around here.

  118. Tim Watson, you are simply wrong with your facts in this instance. You are correct in your assertion that it is easily researched. However, that still requires that the research be actually done. Buddha is absolutely correct and you would be aware of the truth if you followed any of the numerous threads on this issue on this site. The condemnation of Mr. Cheney is not based upon disagreement over interpretation of the law, but upon the fact that Mr. Cheney did not and does not care what the law says. He does not care because he long ago adopted a belief in an executive without boundaries. He believes that the president and vice-president are above the law on matters of national security. Therefore, debates about the permissible limits of executive action are essentially meaningless to him. The arguments advanced by his legal apologists are intended solely as so many scraps to throw into the academic arena for debate.

  119. Buddha: Your nasty, mean-spirited vitriol aside, I can only ask that you read history and not use news articles as your guide. You would really benefit from the exercise. The history is available. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it, upon reflection, that you use John McCain as a source? Must be a first. Seriously, please read any standard history of the Japanese war trials (there were several, over several years), and try to follow the discussion. You will find that no one was executed for doing what American interrogators have done – no one.

    Mr. Appleton: Yours is a post filled with opinion. You are entitled to yours.

  120. Mr. Watson, the argument that military officers were not executed “solely” for waterboarding sidesteps the issue of its unlawfulness. It is true that Yukio Asano (who was a civilian, by the way) was given 15 years for waterboarding rather than being executed. The prison sentences imposed on Sheriff Parker and his deputies were affirmed on appeal in 1984. Lee v. United States, 744 F.2d 1124 (5th Cir. 1984). But the fact that these convictions resulted in jail time rather than hanging merely means that not all forms of torture merit the death penalty. You seem to believe that because waterboarding does not involve pulling out finger nails or cutting off limbs, that it somehow should not be classified as “torture” under the law. But it is, and neither your “opinion” nor mine (nor Dick Cheney’s)has any bearing on the matter. Calling for the prosecution of elected officials for either ordering or approving the commission of crimes is a perfectly rational demand, despite your insistence that it is motivated by a “collective hatred of Bush and anyone associated with him.” For that matter, if a crime has been committed, the subjective motivation behind its prosecution is immaterial. I favored prosecution because acts were committed which have long been recognized as crimes and because I believe that if this country does not stand for the rule of law, it stands for nothing. You obviously disagree, but it is intellectually dishonest to characterize your disagreement as a difference of opinion over the legality of waterboarding when it is really a difference of opinion over the appropriate consequences.

  121. Tim Watson:

    Why do you think it is okay to water-board and why don’t you think water-boarding is torture?

  122. Propagandist deserve vitriol and nastiness, Watson. Just like all liars do.

    You got a problem with that? That’d be your problem, sport. Backing traitors with revisionist history – which is just another name for A LIE – and you’re upset people are nasty to you?

    Awwwwww. Isn’t that precious, Winston. Aren’t you late for your interview at the Ministry of Truth?

    Get your fact straight before spreading lies to protect a traitor. My facts ARE straight.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/200904240035

    Oh, and there’s this from “DROP BY DROP: FORGETTING THE HISTORY OF WATER TORTURE IN U.S. COURTS” By Evan Wallach.

    “In trials, both before U.S. military commissions, and as a participant in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE)16 American judges or commissioners heard American prosecutors roundly condemn the practice as it was applied to American servicemen, and voted to convict the perpetrators. The United States was not alone in prosecuting water torture before national tribunals, nor were the Japanese its sole practitioner. It is worth comparing those trials with Norway’s prosecution of German defendants for the same form of misconduct,17 and the United Kingdom’s trial and execution of Japanese interrogators who used the method.” From http://www.pegc.us/archive/Articles/wallach_drop_by_drop_draft_20061016.pdf

    Evan J. Wallach is a federal judge of the United States Court of International Trade and one of the nation’s most foremost experts on war crimes and the law of war. You, on the other hand, are just a Neocon troll.

    I have provided this along with other cites.
    You, on the other hand, are offering your unsupported opinion. Proof of your assertion. Get some. Or you can stick your Neocon apologist lies where you clearly keep your head. But if you expect me to be nice to someone carrying water for that traitor Cheney? Let’s just say life is full of disappointments.

  123. Mr. Appleton: The only reason I have even discussed the facts of Japanese torture in WWII is because some of you seem to think that if the Japanese were condemned for some form of waterboarding (no matter what else they did), you are justified in condemning American interrogators’ waterboarding of three Islamic radicals. That’s simply a non sequitur…there is no rational connection between what the Japanese did and the waterboarding of the past few years. Here’s what I said earlier: “The US executed Japanese war criminals for torturing American and other Allied prisoners of war. The torture included very brutal methods, some of which are described in the Stanford list, above. Some of the Japanese war criminals had also used a much more severe form of waterboarding…” I don’t think that’s a provocative statement, and it is as factual as it is possible to be.

    Byron: Please allow me to refer you to my earlier posts on that point, and simply to state, again, that causing simulated drowning for 30 seconds, with no infliction of pain, no injury, whether transitory or permanent, no damage of any nature to the bodies of those subjected to such treatment is not torture, in my opinion. Look over the Stanford list…everything on that list is qualitatively and quantitatively different, to a very large degree, from the kind of waterboarding practice by American interrogators. When we devalue the currency of the language to the extent necessary to label waterboarding (as practiced by Americans in this instance) as torture, we have lost the ability to communicate with one another. It is only required of you to read the rants of
    Buddha to see what has happened to him.

    Buddha: Your cup of hatred runneth over. Take a break.

  124. Your cup of propaganda runneth over, so how about you putting a sock in telling me what to do, troll.

    It hasn’t worked for any troll to date.

    Won’t work for you now.

    Refute my evidence.

    Oh, that’s right.

    You can’t.

    Waterboarding is a crime and a crime we’ve prosecuted. US v. Parker, et al. At the time, the New York Times reported the sentencing judge, Judge DeAnda, told Parker that the sheriff had allowed law enforcement to “fall into the hands of a bunch of thugs…. The operation down there would embarrass the dictator of a country.” You can’t deny that fact either.

    Well, you can but you’d be wrong.

    Just like you’re wrong that waterboarding isn’t torture.

    http://lawreview.wustl.edu/slip-opinions/waterboarding-is-illegal/

    I’m going to hammer at you as long as you spread bullshit Neocon lies, sport. Because I can. If that’s too much for you, seek to spread your foul seeds of historical revisionism and rationalizations to protect domestic war criminals elsewhere where people aren’t such sticklers for, oh what’s that thing called, oh yeah!, the facts.

  125. You have yet to provide anything but your opinion, Lil’ Timmy.

    And a wrong opinion as to the facts at that.

    So come on.

    Step up to the plate or step off. I have no issue with making you look further like a distortionist propaganda clown as long as you persist in acting like one.

  126. As long as there are power-hungry madmen willing to sacrifice their followers in order to conquer our citizens, any means employed to discover and thwart their plans is justified … in my humble opinion.

    The Geneva Convention(s) have been writ and rewrit to the point of absurdity and still have not prevented atrocities of war, let alone a gnat’s ass stroke like waterboarding.

    The meek may well inherit the earth, but they probably won’t be alive when it happens. And don’t ever kid yourself that you’ll survive a conflict if your government tries to protect you with an army of lawyers.

  127. Because it bears repeating:

    “the end justifies the means” is a logical fallacy. Namely it is a form of outcome determinism, a deductive fallacy.

    NYC has a bed bug problem
    Bed bugs can be controlled by DDT
    DDT is outlawed due to its relation to increased developmental and reproductive problems, cancer, and diabetes rates in humans and a mutagenic effect in wildlife (especially birds)

    It does not follow that the ends of ridding NYC of bed bugs would be justified by the means of using DDT. It would solve one problem by creating a host of other problems.

    Just like violating not only the Geneva Conventions, but the U.S. Constitution and Federal law actually isn’t solving any problems but creating a whole slew of new ones instead.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/09/20/poll-americans-more-supportive-of-torture-though-still-a-minority/

Comments are closed.