Pick a side: George Washington or Dick Cheney

1presDuring his Thursday press conference defending his agency, CIA Director John Brennan used a telling word. In wrestling with the issue of whether torture produced important, life-saving information, Brennan claimed the answer was “unknowable.”

In a way, he’s right. And that makes what the CIA did — what the United States of America did — all the more reprehensible.

Personally, I don’t believe “effectiveness” is a sufficient excuse for the moral depravity that is torture. Once you justify the degrading abuse of a helpless human being on that basis, then any ban on torture becomes meaningless. Everybody in every country in every conflict, domestic or foreign, can make the argument that torture can be justified because it is “effective” in achieving the cause.

They have to violate our right to privacy, because doing so is effective in reducing crime and saving lives. They have to be able to lock us in prison without trial, because doing so is effective in keeping the peace. In fact, almost any limitation on government power becomes meaningless once you allow it to be trumped by effectiveness. The argument of Dick Cheney and others that the end justifies the means is a totalitarian argument.

image556943xFor the sake of that argument, however, let’s accept effectiveness as at least somewhat of a justification.  In that constrained moral universe, what does Brennan mean when he says it is  “unknowable” whether torture produced information not otherwise attainable?

Suppose we had used traditional means of interrogation against detainees. Suppose we had tried those techniques and exhausted them and then turned to torture only as a last-ditch effort. Under those circumstances, you might then be able to argue that the information acquired through torture was attainable only through torture.

But that’s not how the program operated. “Enhanced interrogation techniques” weren’t the last-ditch option when all else had failed; as the Senate report confirms, they used torture as a first option, a primary option. In case after case, as soon as detainees came into CIA control, they were interrogated not through traditional means but through brutal intimidation, mind control and physical pain.

That is not who we ought to be. That is not who we have been up until now. Right from the beginning, in the Revolutionary War in which the British treated captured American soldiers as traitors undeserving of basic humanitarian treatment, General George Washington insisted on a higher standard.

As he wrote to his Army:

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

They bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.

 

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427 comments
gotalife
gotalife

I see the real American people are marching in Washington for justice.


We need a accountability movement to prosecute all government crimes including torture.

gotalife
gotalife

The same gop criminals that broke the law on torture are blocking the jamie dimon bailout bill for immigration.


These criminals are out of control with no accountability.

gotalife
gotalife

td and lil w enable the criminals too just like media.



td1234
td1234

Oh the hypocrisy from the left. The same people that talk about moral values of our nation and the rights of terrorists are the same people that allow more than a million unborn killed each and every year. The same people that believe putting water on someones face is cruel torture have no problem with shooting salt into the womb of a woman to slowly kill an unborn child or pull a child's head out and shove a spike into it. 


The left treats the unborn as non human in order to kill 1 million unborn children per year but then claims that right treats terrorist as non humans when they put water on their face to save other citizens lives. 

lvg
lvg

Torture -Ferguson Missouri style:


""""A lawsuit against a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who allegedly choked and hog-tied a 12-year-old boy in 2010 has been settled on undisclosed terms, court filings show.

The 2012 lawsuit alleged that Ferguson Police Officer Justin Cosma, who was then serving as a police officer in Jefferson County, Missouri, and his then-colleague Richard Carter approached the shirtless 12-year-old as the boy was checking his mailbox at the end of his driveway.

"Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground," the lawsuit, which was filed by the victim's family, said. The officers allegedly then “hog tied” the young boy, which means they restrained him by tying his hands to his feet. The child, according to the lawsuit, "suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body" due to his treatment by the officers, and had to be transported to a medical facility for medical treatment."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/justin-cosma-ferguson-police_n_6316630.html


and the Cons are upset that Eric Holder is investigating. 

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Pick a side:  FDR or liberal fascists

"Wisely or unwisely, people know that under the Eighteenth Amendment Congress has been given the right to legislate on this particular subject [Prohibition], but this is not the case in the matter of a great number of other vital problems of government, such as the conduct of public utilities, of banks, of insurance, of business, of agriculture, of education, of social welfare and of a dozen other important features. In these, Washington must not be encouraged to interfere."

EdUktr
EdUktr

It's very facile for people to say, "Oh, torture is terrible." But consider a situation where a terrorist knows for sure the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in New York and will kill millions of people. 

Is it absolutely clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of him?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@EdUktr

Obozo would torture a terrorist if he knew who was about to murder his own children.

Fact.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@EdUktr

It's very facile for people to say, "Oh, torture is terrible." But consider a situation where a terrorist knows for sure the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in New York and will kill millions of people. 

***
It's called watching too many episodes of 24.

Wayyyy too much faith in the ability to beat something out of somebody.

Peachs
Peachs

The differentiation of them and us is flurried when we become what we accuse them of; the whole matter we fight and live for is a crapshoot, there is no substance. We become road rage and abusive spouses and parents, inconsistent self righteous, and smug. You will never convince some of this, their fear is long taken control of their thinking, which is making it through each day before their enemies get em, and they call this life.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

I like Jay's game of comparing Our Founding Fathers beliefs and morals to today's leaders.

He doesn't seem to play it very often though.

They would be sickened by the garbage that Jay supports every day.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

No, I think they'd be sickened by the sick shyte LilBigBooger, who isn't american, spews daily.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@gotalife

Some "doctors" dismember unborn children or pierce their skulls and vacuum out their brains while the rest of their body dangles from the birth canal.

There are your liberal fascists.

Tiberius-Constitutionus
Tiberius-Constitutionus

One need look no further than the current iteration of the conservative movement to know that hypocrisy is alive and very well, InTheMiddle-ButReallyReallyRightInReality.

gotalife
gotalife

'We Tortured Some Folks,' But 'That's Not Who We Are'

Absent any criminal prosecutions, the only conclusion we will be left with is that these guys really are "patriots" and torturing people really is "who we are." The morality and ethics of whether or not the CIA can torture people in our name are non-negotiable. There is no argument that can be made to justify this atrocity. The corporate media are treating torture as if it's just another "issue" like immigration reform or the federal budget. It isn't. You cannot justify the unjustifiable. People who attempt to apologize for torture done in their name are embarrassing themselves; raising their heads to be counted as barbarians at the gate. We don't fight against terrorists to become more like them, but to maintain our differences.

He said it better than I did.

I watched the psychopaths on corporate media act like it is nothing and thought how many Americans thought it was dead wrong. It is illegal, a crime against humanity and they enable it.Disgusting.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@gotalife

And after the next major attack on American soil, Democrats will be demanding more EITs, and a dozen years after that they'll be pretending (like today's Democrats briefed on EITs contemporaneously) that they are shocked, shocked by it.

Peachs
Peachs

@LilBarryBailout @gotalife I often wondered if those passagers had known their real fate in those planes if that plane would have made it to the towers or Washington. That is the real prevention to this.  

DeborahinAthens
DeborahinAthens

No, they won't. A moral value is one that is etched in stone. Nothing justifies what the Bush administration did, with the brainless Rethugs, championing their illegal, unethical, and immoral acts.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@DeborahinAthens  It is easy to sit back and be self indulgent after the SOMEBODY ELSE stood in the way of those that would kill you and protected you.

rdordine
rdordine

Mr. Bookman should look deeper into history with Washington to see how Washington dealt with mutinies before making comparisons. WOW, who would he try to compare then!

gotalife
gotalife

@td1234 You cons were a lot crazier under bush especially on Iraq and Abu Graib.


Now you looking around and wondering why you licked their boots.


rw media was the best I have seen in a long time.


Welcome to the real world.

gotalife
gotalife

We have allowed lobbyists to write the laws and bankers whip votes with legalyzed bribes.


Every institution is corrupt including our justice system.


Tell me geniuses, what do you expect to happen?

AyeAyeSir
AyeAyeSir

"As he wrote to his Army:

“Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause… for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country.”

They bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country."


Someone has probably already dealt with this but of course Washington was so sensitive to British prisoners that he probably used some of his SLAVES to help take care of them.


GEEZ !

TBS
TBS

@Brosephus @TBS


In his mind his comment was logical (I guess) but I doubt most folks with commonsense would agree that there was much if any logic to it.

I just hope he takes a few Advil.  After that stretch something is going to tighten up. 

TBS
TBS

@Brosephus @AyeAyeSir


Scout is contorting and twisting as if he were a pretzel to make his analogy fit.  

He should take that show on the road.  I'm sure some road side fair troupe would hire him. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TBS 

I honestly don't know what to make of it other than a strange deflection attempt.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@AyeAyeSir 

And, exactly what would that have to do with torturing prisoners of war?  Slaves were not prisoners of war.  Slaves were not even considered human by some people.  Even the ever so vaunted Founding Fathers didn't consider them human or else we wouldn't have had the 3/5ths Compromise enshrined into our most powerful founding document.

Brosephus
Brosephus

@TBS 

I was trying to figure out whether he's trying to say owning slaves = torture.  If that's the case, then the whole thing about freedom in the founding of this country is BS.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@JayBook

The former CIA directors have "real experience" but for some reason the partisan hacks never thought to interview them.

I wonder why.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@JayBook  Jay - This is Bob Kerreys Medal of Honor Citation. I would say yes, he does know, he does have experience and no matter how you measure it, he will always be multiples of whatever you pretend to be


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL team leader during action against enemy aggressor (Viet Cong) forces. Acting in response to reliable intelligence, Lt. (j.g.) Kerrey led his SEAL team on a mission to capture important members of the enemy's area political cadre known to be located on an island in the bay of Nha Trang. In order to surprise the enemy, he and his team scaled a 350-foot sheer cliff to place themselves above the ledge on which the enemy was located. Splitting his team in 2 elements and coordinating both, Lt. (jg.) Kerrey led his men in the treacherous downward descent to the enemy's camp. Just as they neared the end of their descent, intense enemy fire was directed at them, and Lt. (jg.) Kerrey received massive injuries from a grenade that exploded at his feet and threw him backward onto the jagged rocks. Although bleeding profusely and suffering great pain, he displayed outstanding courage and presence of mind in immediately directing his element's fire into the heart of the enemy camp. Utilizing his radio, Lt. (jg.) Kerrey called in the second element's fire support, which caught the confused Viet Cong in a devastating crossfire. After successfully suppressing the enemy's fire, and although immobilized by his multiple wounds, he continued to maintain calm, superlative control as he ordered his team to secure and defend an extraction site. Lt. (jg.) Kerrey resolutely directed his men, despite his near unconscious state, until he was eventually evacuated by helicopter. The havoc brought to the enemy by this very successful mission cannot be over-estimated. The enemy soldiers who were captured provided critical intelligence to the allied effort. Lt. (jg.) Kerrey's courageous and inspiring leadership, valiant fighting spirit, and tenacious devotion to duty in the face of almost overwhelming opposition sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.