Friday, March 20, 2009


Last week, the New York Times published an op-ed by Mark Danner entitled Tales from Torture's Dark World. The article profiles several cases of torture victims who were interviewed by the Red Cross.
Indeed, since the detainees were kept strictly apart and isolated, both at the black sites and at Guantánamo, the striking similarity in their stories would seem to make fabrication extremely unlikely. As its authors state in their introduction, “The I.C.R.C. wishes to underscore that the consistency of the detailed allegations provided separately by each of the 14 adds particular weight to the information provided below.”

As everyone knows, these interrogation techniques were approved at the highest levels and based on recent comments by the former president and by the former vice president, there are no regrets.

Back in 2006, Mr. Bush said, “the C.I.A. used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful.”

Mark Danner says, "this speech will stand as George W. Bush’s most important: perhaps the only historic speech he ever gave. In his fervent defense of his government’s “alternative set of procedures” and his equally fervent insistence that they were “lawful,” he set out before the country America’s dark moral epic of torture, in the coils of whose contradictions we find ourselves entangled still."

What do you think about that? Was the president acting in good faith and doing what he believed was best for the country? Do you think it worked? Even Mr. Danner admits we don't know the answer to that.
As I write, it is impossible to know definitively what benefits — in intelligence, in national security, in disrupting Al Qaeda — the president’s approval of use of an “alternative set of procedures” might have brought to the United States. Only a thorough investigation, which we are now promised, much belatedly, by the Senate Intelligence Committee, can determine that.

He goes on to point out that what we do know "with certainty, in the wake of the Red Cross report, is that the United States tortured prisoners and that the Bush administration, including the president himself, explicitly and aggressively denied that fact."
We can also say that the decision to torture, in a political war with militant Islam, harmed American interests by destroying the democratic and Constitutional reputation of the United States, undermining its liberal sympathizers in the Muslim world and helping materially in the recruitment of young Muslims to the extremist cause. By deciding to torture, we freely chose to embrace the caricature they had made of us. The consequences of this choice, legal, political and moral, now confront us. Time and elections are not enough to make them go away.

Do you agree with all that talk about America having lowered itself by engaging in these practices? Do you think our world reputation has suffered as a result? Do you think it was worth it, did the good gained outweigh the bad?

I know we've all talked about it before, but I never really got it. How could President Clinton have been impeached for what he did and President Bush not? Can someone please explain that to me?


  1. "How could President Clinton have been impeached for what he did and President Bush not? Can someone please explain that to me?"

    Clinton's Perjury was illegal. Interrogation of international terrorist suspects isn't.

  2. Exploiting a majority in Congress in the 1990s, the republicans tried to use that majority to discredit the party holding the executive branch for political gain in the upcoming 2000 election. Bush,Cheney, Rove,Rumsfeld, etc...will not be charged and even they are they will be pardoned like Libby was for outing a CIA agent. These poliiticans are not held to the same standard and laws that average Americans are held to. None will ever do jail time so that fact only encourages future questionable behavior. Like George Carlin once said...if you want to get rid of the drug problem in America, start executing some of the white republican bankers who launder the drug money. Then you would see that problem go away real fucking quick!!

  3. What charges, Principe?

    I'd love to give you more oportunity to sound even more ignorant than you do now!

  4. Alexander Hamilton described the subject of impeachment as:
    "those offences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself"
    If you apply that meaning to impeachment than the harm the Bush administration did to American society by attacking Iraq can be easily applied by even a novice like me. I am sure constitutional lawyers could sound even smarter. I would argue that the decision by Bush to attack Iraq that had led to over 4,260 American service member deaths, tens of thousands of wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and an occupation predicted to last until the United States is no longer a world power, some good starting points.

    Other may say Bush could have been impeached for giving false information to the Senate. He is to regulate all intercourse with foreign powers, and it is his duty to impart to the Senate every material intelligence he receives. If it should appear that he has not given them full information, but has concealed important intelligence which he ought to have communicated, and by that means induced them to enter into measures injurious to their country, and which they would not have consented to had the true state of things been disclosed to them,"

    And just to learn whom I am debating, as you may know I am a former military member of the US Navy and did three six-month deployments. One was in the Persian Gulf. My MOS or job rating as it is called in the Navy was an Aviation Boatswains Mate. I was responsible for hot refueling of rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft, in addition to serving watch and all the duties and responsibilities entailed when you serve on board a ship and the US military.

    While Mike never gave his MOS, I am more than happy to share my military experience with anyone. I know first hand what it means to serve in the military and now with my education in politics and government, it pisses me off when chicken hawk pimps like Bush and Cheney use the military personal for their own benefit. They had no idea what it means to serve extended tours away from home or to fully complete their military duty.

    So Weerd Beerd. What was your MOS and military experience?

  5. "So Weerd Beerd. What was your MOS and military experience?"

    The same as MikeB's

  6. Mr. Principe, Thanks for that great comment. I think it's one of the most informative and on-topic comments I've seen around here lately.

    You must have missed mine though a few posts back when Bob and I got talking about his son and my own military history.

    I told him that I'd been trained as a radio telegraph operator for Viet Nam. All the Marine recruits were getting Westpac orders in the late 60s up until my graduating class in July of 1970. We were split, half to the war and half stateside. I stayed here and always considered that to be a stroke of good luck. Although it must have been a fascinating experience, I really don't envy your having been in the Persian Gulf during hot times.

  7. Nope, you didn't!

    Also I like how you refered to the 'States as "Here"

    I suspect maybe you aren't in Rome Either.

    The lies thicken!

  8. thanks for the info on your MOS. While I was in the Navy after boot camp and advanced training I got my orders for the USS Trenton. Bit disappointed because I wanted to serve on a carrier and be a part of the plane recovery or plane launching crew. My time on the Gator Frieghter was ok in the end though. I saw some combat experience I would not have on a big flat top and got to hang out with a lot of jarheads. How does the saying go...every meal is a feast and every payday is a gold mine...While they used to call me a squid, I told them a squid is a sea going creature that shits on marine life!!

  9. Weer'd, Stop the personal attacks and all the attempts to discredit me. I welcome your input, when it's constructive; let's try to keep it that way.

  10. Nope, you're nothing but a liar.

    I'm pulling the curtain back!

    You have no interest in anything constructive, you use this blog for only things destructive.

    So I'm done with presenting facts, data and ideas here. Instead I'm going to enjoy the same luxury you extend to Mudrake.

    So carry on your political lies, as well as the ones about your personal life. I know what you are!

  11. "Clinton's Perjury was illegal. Interrogation of international terrorist suspects isn't."

    An act is not lawful simply because it occurs under the rubric of "interrogation of international terrorist suspects." For example, torture is not legal. Nor are acts violating U.S. law or the Geneva conventions.

    What charges, Principe?

    I'd start with charging Bush and various subordinates with violating FISA, and domestic and international laws prohibiting torture. There have been quite a few war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well.

  12. Don, I vote for you as Special Prosecutor of the New Global Order. I'll work with ya, we'll straighten these bums out.