The Cost of Torture

An interrogator who served in the Iraq War is speaking up about the failures – both moral and practical – of the Bush Administration’s approach to treating detainees:

I should have felt triumphant when I returned from Iraq in August 2006. Instead, I was worried and exhausted. My team of interrogators had successfully hunted down one of the most notorious mass murderers of our generation, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the mastermind of the campaign of suicide bombings that had helped plunge Iraq into civil war. But instead of celebrating our success, my mind was consumed with the unfinished business of our mission: fixing the deeply flawed, ineffective and un-American way the U.S. military conducts interrogations in Iraq. I’m still alarmed about that today.

I’m not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me — both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn’t work.

Violence was at its peak during my five-month tour in Iraq. In February 2006, the month before I arrived, Zarqawi’s forces (members of Iraq’s Sunni minority) blew up the golden-domed Askariya mosque in Samarra, a shrine revered by Iraq’s majority Shiites, and unleashed a wave of sectarian bloodshed. Reprisal killings became a daily occurrence, and suicide bombings were as common as car accidents. It felt as if the whole country was being blown to bits.

Amid the chaos, four other Air Force criminal investigators and I joined an elite team of interrogators attempting to locate Zarqawi. What I soon discovered about our methods astonished me. The Army was still conducting interrogations according to the Guantanamo Bay model: Interrogators were nominally using the methods outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, the interrogators’ bible, but they were pushing in every way possible to bend the rules — and often break them. I don’t have to belabor the point; dozens of newspaper articles and books have been written about the misconduct that resulted. These interrogations were based on fear and control; they often resulted in torture and abuse.

A lot of this is well-known now, but there’s still a very intense effort within the Defense Department to whitewash this record of failure, and to silence those who speak up:

After my return from Iraq, I began to write about my experiences because I felt obliged, as a military officer, not only to point out the broken wheel but to try to fix it. When I submitted the manuscript of my book about my Iraq experiences to the Defense Department for a standard review to ensure that it did not contain classified information, I got a nasty shock. Pentagon officials delayed the review past the first printing date and then redacted an extraordinary amount of unclassified material — including passages copied verbatim from the Army’s unclassified Field Manual on interrogations and material vibrantly displayed on the Army’s own Web site. I sued, first to get the review completed and later to appeal the redactions. Apparently, some members of the military command are not only unconvinced by the arguments against torture; they don’t even want the public to hear them.

I’m not terribly bothered by the prospect of Bob Gates staying on as Defense Secretary. I think he’s a competent individual who would faithfully pursue Obama’s overall goals on Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. What I’m far more interested in seeing is the end of torture and prisoner abuse as a weapon in fighting terrorism. It’s highly counterproductive and fundamentally at odds with the reasons why America became the world’s most powerful and respected nation in the first place.

Comments

  1. 1

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    Torture is

    highly counterproductive and fundamentally at odds with the reasons why American became the world’s most powerful and respected nation in the first place.

    I am not sure about this. I think we became the most powerful nation because we won WWII and the Cold War. In both we used torture and worse.

    As for respect, again I think that is ephemeral. Sweden, Germany, and Holland have all led extremely moral existances since WWII but I do not think any of them have an especially high level of world respect. Switzerland, not a very moral place, has a lot of respect. Is money the same thing as respect?

    It seems to me that a large part of the difficulty with torture is that defining it is increasingly difficult. Water boarding itself has an infinite number of variations from Chinese water torture to the TV and movie image of someone’s head being forced down into the crapper.

    New drugs are creating new kinds of torture too. And then there is sensory deprivation, direct stimulation of pain centers, ….

    I wonder if there is not some subjective way of assuring that interrogation is done as humanely as possible without getting so close to the details?

  2. 3

    spews:

    @2
    Are you illiterate?

    I wrote:

    I’m not terribly bothered by the prospect of Bob Gates staying on as Defense Secretary.

    And then I explained why. Do you want to try reading my post again and responding with something less stupid?

  3. 4

    spews:

    @1
    I am not sure about this. I think we became the most powerful nation because we won WWII and the Cold War. In both we used torture and worse.

    There were probably instances where people were tortured during those times, but it was definitely not excused by the Defense Department. In WWII especially, we treated German and Japanese prisoners (who were often brought to the U.S.) very well compared to how other nations (like the Soviets) were treating their prisoners.

    Now you can commence misrepresenting my views and finding ways to call me a racist.

  4. 5

    spews:

    Yes, the US government has long been in the business of torturing people, or at the very least using proxies to torture people (particularly down in South America.) What’s really changed during the BushCo years is that it is no longer seen as something to be ashamed of/kept covert; it’s not only out in the open, we’re bragging about it.

  5. 7

    spews:

    I have very strong views about the torture used on detainees by American troops. When my husband came home from Iraq, he was not the same man – what he saw and experienced haunts him. Aside from the emotional problems it creates in the soldiers and troops who must obey orders, it creates a huge amount of hatred and restlessness towards the US, and, in my opinion, puts our troops in further harm.

    Violence or threats of violence are rarely a deterrent, and I worry that the actions we’ve taken have created such an animosity towards us that no mercy will be shown to our loved ones who may be captured or attacked.

    Furthermore, I had read an article (will look for link) that discusses how the courts and humanitarian efforts around the world had viewed the US before Iraq, and how they view us now. Before we (our court’s decisions, foreign policy) were looked to for guidance, and ideas. The world has ceased looking to us, and have began glaring at us, and moving forward without us. This is no doubt, a reaction to our outward behaviors about our military conduct overseas.

    Finally, why on Earth should we stoop to the same levels as the people we claim to despise?

  6. 8

    spews:

    The difference between Lee and I is that in the movie Dirty Harry, in the scene where Harry (Clint) is torturing Scorpio to find the whereabouts of the little girl, Lee’s main concern is with Scorpio being mistreated by the police, and his rights being violated, whereas I am worried about the little girl he kidnapped.

  7. 10

    spews:

    @7
    Thanks for that comment too.

    @8, @9
    I can’t figure out which of you two is the bigger moron.

    Troll, movies aren’t real.

    Truth, most well-informed progressives aren’t shitting their pants over Gates.

  8. 11

    Jim spews:

    @10
    “most well-informed progressives aren’t shitting their pants over Gates.”

    Get your news from reading Seattle Times comics.

    Hold that that small thought lee, until after his announcement next week.
    LOL!

  9. 12

    Dave spews:

    There were probably instances where people were tortured during those times, but it was definitely not excused by the Defense Department.

    —————-

    The fire bombings of German and Japanese cities were part of the strategic war waged by the US and Britain in WWII. Part of their intent was to break the morale of the civilian populations. Most major Japanese cities had suffered extensive damage and casualties by the end of the war. The March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo, for example, is estimated to have killed over a 100,000 men, women and children.

  10. 13

    YLB spews:

    I would say prisoner abuse is inevitable in any war.

    It almost never comes up that Abu Ghraib was being shelled daily by insurgents. That constant threat of death or injury drove the prison guards to abuse prisoners every bit as much as their own failings or any pressure from command.

    I’ve said it a million times but this is why you have to avoid war whenever possible and once you’re in one you better accomplish what you set out to do quickly and then get out.

    Wars drag everybody down.

  11. 14

    correctnotright spews:

    @8: News flash – troll sinks to new level of stupidity. As if any dirty harry movies had any kind of reality….
    The whole point is that torture does NOT work – and the evidence not only that it doesn’t produce worthwhile intelligence (prisoners will simply lie to stop the torture)and it affects the torturers too.

    Was there ANY evidence for the so-called torture that was worth ruining our reputation as a country? Could we not have gotten that evidence another way?

    @11 Jim: Just hold your thought, period. They are not worth the bits of memory they use up. President-elect Obama has made it clear that he sets the priorities. I personally think it is a brilliant move to shut up the right wing idiots and neocons – who better to get us out of Iraq than Gates? The neocons aren’t going to make any kind of case of “irresposibility to the troops or other such nonsense when Gates is setting the tone – along with Jones as NSA.

    Change comes from the top – and we finally have a President who understands the issues (not the sound bites)and is not afraid of dissent or intelligent questions. The incompetence of the last four years will be soon be nothing but a sad memory ….

  12. 15

    Daddy Love spews:

    There are two pieces to this.

    One, torture as an instrument of public policy is a disaster in all ways. It hurts our reputation among democracies abroad, has been absolutely the greatest terrorist recruiting tool, and elicits only false confessions. In fact, the people we stole the techniques fron (North Korea and Russia) used these techniques SOLELY to elicit false confessions.

    Two, the retention of Bob Gates is actually political brilliance. Once Obama implements a withdrawal from Iraq that is (a) negotiated by the Bush administration and (b) orchestrated by Bush’s Defense Secretary Robert Gates, he is effectively immunized from the inevitable “stabbed in the back” rhetoric from Republicans.

    Be aware, Republicans, you will never win a political battle with Barack Obama. He’s ahead of you morons.

  13. 17

    spews:

    I want everyone to notice one thing: Lee does not deny that he had more concern for the kidnapper Scorpio than the kidnapped girl.

  14. 18

    Jim spews:

    @14
    When are you going to learn how to spell correctly.

    The idiots with the help of uninformed (you) elected him for two big reasons to end the war on day one and to give everyone a paycheck.
    Both are fairy tales.

  15. 20

    Daddy Love spews:

    I do like the suggestion that a Dirty Harry movie should be our model for foreign intelligence gathering. I guess what that means is that we should hire Hollywood writers who will outline how brilliantly our methods will work. And if reality does not square with that, release the screenplay instead of the truth.

    After all, it’s just TOO HARD to hire people who speak local languages and want to work with the locals, and it’s ESPECIALLLY hard not to fucking bomb their families into oblivion so that maybe someone would WANT to work with us because we’re better than the alternative. No, it’s much better to be perceived as bloodthirsty tyrants, corrupt torturers, and foreign usurpers, everyone will be on our side after that. Right? Right? Troll? Dirty Harry is on our side, right?

  16. 21

    spews:

    @17
    I want everyone to notice one thing: Lee does not deny that he had more concern for the kidnapper Scorpio than the kidnapped girl.

    You do realize that all of that was make-believe right?

    And I’ve actually never seen that movie, so I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  17. 22

    spews:

    People will “be on our side” after we get our military bases out of other people’s countries, and stop playing policeman to the world. Do I think Islam is one big sexist, Jew-hating, irrational, hate-filled, intolerant, and violence-loving cult? Hell yeah. But they do have a point. We need to get out of their business.

    BTW, if there are any Muslims reading this, fuck Mohammed. He was nothing but a pedophile and a terrorist.

  18. 23

    spews:

    @19
    Here’s the definition of terrorism from answers.com:

    The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.

    Calling the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima terrorism doesn’t quite fit for several reasons:
    1) Terrorism tends to be applied to the actions of small groups or individuals, not the acts of a nation against another.
    2) It’s hard to say that in a war where we were attacked first that responding in a way that was calculated to end the war is an act of terrorism
    3) The rationale was not political or ideological. It was a strategy within a war.

    While terrorizing people was certainly an element of why we dropped those bombs, it just doesn’t make sense to call it terrorism based upon the conventional meaning of the term.

    Now will you please take your stupid ass and find something more productive to do with your time than embarrass yourself in these comment threads? We have intelligent people trying to discuss an important topic here. We don’t need to have your delusional rantings peppered amongst it.

  19. 24

    spews:

    @23

    Wow, thank you for the thoughtful reply. I actually learned something. And just for that, I will honor your request and leave … for today.

  20. 25

    spews:

    @12
    That’s a separate thing from torture. Even during World War II, we did not have policies that allowed for prisoners to be tortured, even if we were willing to accept that killing civilians would be part of defeating Hitler.

    @11
    What? There’s so much outrage that there isn’t even a single diary at DailyKos about it right now even though it’s just been confirmed that he will be announced as SecDef tomorrow.

  21. 26

    Daddy Love spews:

    From a former American torturer:

    Whhen he switched his team’s techniques to a rapport-building method, they found enormous success. One detainee told the author,

    I thought you would torture me, and when you didn’t, I decided that everything I was told about Americans was wrong. That’s why I decided to cooperate.

  22. 27

    Tom Foss spews:

    This original thread contains a very thoughtful commentary from a very thoughtful and dedicated public servant who came forward to make these comments in the face of great peer pressure not to. This is a great public service we need to heed, and I appreciate the post.We need to understand what we have done, and allowed to be done in our name.

    The use of torture is not only a moral outrage, it has been shown by studies dating back to the 13th century to be a complete failure as a mechanism to get truthful information. Any research that goes beyond the press comments of the administration, the GOP defenders of failed policy, and FOX news, (which like troll, believes “24” to be real,) clearly demonstrates this simple truth. Torture has more often been used to coerce false confessions to justify religious and/or political repression.

    And no, we are not naive enough to believe that stopping this practice as the official policy of the United States will solve all our problems we have created in the middle east, S. Asia, and the Muslim and Islamic world. But it is part of a start to allow us to stop digging ourselves deeper, and start us on the process of climbing out of our hole.

  23. 28

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    American torturers will never be prosecuted by an American government. Some foreign intelligence service will grab them and deliver them to their own country’s tribunals. Until then, these animals will have to look over their shoulders everywhere they go.

  24. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If the U.S. government grabbed innocent Iraqi noncombatants in their own country, and imprisoned and tortured them, shouldn’t they be able to sue the U.S. in American or international courts?

  25. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve never been kidnapped, and I never will be, because of my powerful hind feet with razor sharp claws! Anyone who tries to kidnap me will look like he’s been in a fight with a hedge trimmer. Have you ever tried to pick up an uncooperative rabbit? Ha!

  26. 31

    Rupert G Holmes spews:

    So, we’ve all but eliminated Al Quaeda in Iraq due to the methods described above, but somehow this is ‘failure’ according to the left?!

    AND apparently Bush’s war for oil was a success now. You see those oil prices?

  27. 32

    spews:

    @31
    No, we only started to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq after we started to abandon some of these more extreme tactics. Read the original article.

  28. 33

    Jim spews:

    @25

    “What? There’s so much outrage that there isn’t even a single diary at DailyKos about it right now even though it’s just been confirmed that he will be announced as SecDef tomorrow.”

    Lee,
    HA, progressives and ass’s have in common is full of SH#$!

    You Asses can’t tell the truth.

    Lies and more lies complain and complain, change subjects to cover up the truth.
    I have mercy for you all.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/.....614/666540

    1 of 471 posts.

    ” This should be an open and shut case. If there was one message that Obama ran on loudly, clearly, and indisputably, it is that he was going to bring “change” to Washington, D.C. If Gates were kept on as Secretary of Defense, it apparently would also mean that all of his top advisors would also stay on, and that it all happened because long-time D.C. operatives said it should. Keeping the same guy and all of his advisors at the behest of old establishment types is about as far from change as possible.

    Secretary of Defense is the big enchilada. Arguably, due to the vast percentage of federal spending it receives, it is more important than all other cabinet secretaries combined. The President may be Commander in Chief, but it is the Secretary of Defense who is decides how most federal revenue is spent. We need change in the Department of Defense, and keeping Gates along with his entire team of advisors and assistants doesn’t fit the bill.”

  29. 34

    Bob spews:

    Obama has been excellent at slapping his supporters in the face since the election. This was totally unnecessary. There was no reason to retain Gates for even 1 month. The American people did not vote for continuity with Bush’s policies, particularly on Iraq, they voted to repudiate them and to change them.

    This is the latest in a series of betrayals and bad moves from Obama. I don’t need to wait until he takes office, he has shown his hand. He has put our economic policy in the hands of Rubin’s disciples who are the cause of the massive meltdown in the financial markets with their policies of deregulation.
    Now he is keeping the management of the largest branch of the US government, the Defense Department, in the hands of those who brought us this disaster. You may argue Gates is not Rumsfeld, but I don’t think Bush appointed Gates because Gates was going to bring our troops home from Iraq or repudiate neoconservatism.

    I expect that it is going to take the vast majority of Kossacks months, if not years, before they will finally realize they’ve been sold out. But I do not have the same amount of emotional energy wrapped up in Obama. I was for Edwards initially. In my heart I wish Kucinich could have been the nominee but I knew that was not going to happen.

  30. 35

    spews:

    The problem with today’s policy is that the officials are always saying that there is no torturing going on, and yet there seems to be a wink and a nod as well as talk of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This was especially the case under Rumsfeld.

    These confused messages are dangerous when they manifest themselves on the ground. The message seems to be that crossing boundaries is permissible as long as you don’t use the T-word.

    In Afghanistan, an innocent man died after a brutal beating he endured in an American interrogation facility.

    Soldiers were court marshaled but the bureaucrats (and politicians) responsible for the muddled policy face no consequences.

  31. 36

    Michael spews:

    @2

    You voted for change and got none.

    I didn’t know that Obama was an anti-intellectual, far-right neo-con who hired people based on their desire to follow orders, to dismantle government, and turn far right christian beliefs into matters of policy. I had know idea that Obama would have political hacks edit NASA studies or pay journalists under the table to write glowing reviews of what his Admin was doing.

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  32. 37

    Chuck spews:

    We have become a nation of slackers looking for a ride! Have you ever looked into the Nomandy invasion? Did you know that James Doohan,,,Scotty on the Enterprise was a veteran from that? Did you also know that he lost 2 fingers in that? Did he whine about water boarding? No his missing digits embarrassed him. He never wanted it on camera! Although he was Canadian at the time’ I am proud to say he was American when he died in the Seattle area! If you sign up to be a man…be at least a man…

  33. 38

    correctnotright spews:

    @18 : Moron Jim
    I can spell just fine. I happen to have a bruise on my typing hand so those are obvious typos that happen when I type fast and don’t have time to correct my errors. But thanks for pointing out how trivial and small-minded you are.

    When are you going to learn to think above the third grade level?

    Actually, dumbass, the people who voted for Obama were more highly educated and did not fall for the pathetically stupid socialist arguments made by McCain. Also, I am quite sure my test scores and IQ scores would dwarf your minature intellect.

    Now run along little boy before I tear your third-grade level arguments to shreads again.
    Anyone who supports Bush and Palin doesn’t deserve to have an argument about intelligence.

  34. 39

    correctnotright spews:

    @33: Jim:
    Gee, one person is upset. Big deal!
    I happen to think it is a brilliant move to retain Gates to get us out of Iraq. It covers Obama’s backside.

    I also think that appointing a seasoned team of economic advisors to jump start the economy and create jobs is a good idea.

    Unlike Bush who appointed incompetents like Brownie (FEMA) and Gonzalez (AG) (how about Harriet Miers for the supreme court?), Obama is appointing people who can get the job done right. He sets the agenda, they follow it.

    You can’t be as stupid as you seem….or maybe you can.

  35. 40

    Michael spews:

    @1

    When the news about our use of torture some of the first and loudest voices protesting it were past intelligence officers including some from the CIA and WWII.

  36. 41

    correctnotright spews:

    @40: Many of the top military and CIA people think that the torture rules set out by the Justice department and Bush are illegal, immoral and hurt us more than they help.

    Who can proudly say that we are Americans and we torture?

    Who can be proud of Abu Ghraib?

    Who can be proud of Guantanemo where prisoners are held without trial for 7-8 years?

    It will take years to repair our reputation from the torture enablers.

  37. 42

    Michael spews:

    @2

    When we voted for “change” we we’re voting to move our country and our politics away from its current polarized and ideological state. We realized that we had a lot of shit to do and that to get it done we need people that can work together towards common goals regardless of where you personally stand on issues.

    Look how Obama ran is campaign, the Republicans came after him ideological attack after ideological attack and he brushed them off. He wasn’t going to go there. Obama’s refusal to engage in ideological warfare is what won him the election.

    Obama’s selection of highly capable, pragmatic, centrists that can hit the ground running shows that the man understands what’s going on in the world and that he wants to do what’s best for our country and the world, not to do what’s best to push a narrow ideological agenda.

    Sorry pal, but this is the “change” we wanted.

  38. 43

    mark spews:

    @38 Maybe you could take your massive
    intellect and learn the proper spelling
    of “shred”. What a tard. At least you’re
    always an asshole.

  39. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @37 So why aren’t you in Iraq? Oh, and by the way, there’s a difference between the cruelties inflicted by the nature of war, and the calculated and intentional torturing of an INNOCENT prisoner by a conscienceless interrogator. We executed Nazis for doing that.

  40. 46

    spews:

    @33
    Sometime in the future here at HorsesAss, we’ll conduct a seminar for people who can’t differentiate between the words “some”, “most”, “all”, and “few”. I know it’s very difficult for you, but I think we can help.

    First lesson, when I say that “most” of the people are not doing something, you will still be able to find examples of someone doing it. If I had said that “all” people are not doing something, it actually debunks what I say when you find an example of someone doing it.

    Do you want to try your comment again, or have you figured out how dumb you’re being yet?

  41. 47

    Jim spews:

    @38
    What are you ranting about now, changed subject again you Idiot.

    “I can spell just fine. I happen to have a bruise on my typing hand.”

    Still sucking your thumb or sitting on your thumb like most of you fags do for fun LOL!

    ” I am quite sure my test scores and IQ scores would dwarf your minature intellect.”

    Could you please proof read your post your becoming pathetic.

    Leave me along you pervert. I don’t want to discuss anything with you idiot.

  42. 48

    Bjing spews:

    @33
    Sometime in the future here at HorsesAss, we’ll conduct a seminar for people who can’t differentiate between the words “some”, “most”, “all”, and “few”. I know it’s very difficult for you, but I think we can help.

    ——————-

    Don’t forget to toss in a writing seminar . . .

  43. 49

    Jim spews:

    @46

    25. Lee spews:

    @11
    “What? There’s so much outrage that there isn’t even a single diary at DailyKos about it right now even though it’s just been confirmed that he will be announced as SecDef tomorrow.”

    “First lesson, when I say that “most” of the people are not doing something”

    Lee,
    Please get off drugs while you can.
    “MOST people can”

  44. 50

    Jim spews:

    39. correctnotright spews:

    “@33: Jim:
    Gee, one person is upset. Big deal!
    I happen to think it is a brilliant move to retain Gates to get us out of Iraq. It covers Obama’s backside.”

    One person ??? it was ONE of 471 post idiot.
    You would think finding a penny in the gutter a brilliant find.
    Drop off fag!

  45. 51

    Jim spews:

    @44

    These muslims that you care so much for are not human as the vast majority of them are still alive. Sadly I can’t say this about out brave troops who stayed in uniform under battle conditions got captured and where burned alive or beheaded.

  46. 52

    spews:

    @49
    Please get off drugs while you can.

    After looking at your last three comments, I’m not the one who need to re-evaluate my thought processes.

    Here you are at #50:

    You would think finding a penny in the gutter a brilliant find.
    Drop off fag!

    Was this supposed to make sense? How does this address the fact that you don’t seem to understand what the word “most” means?

    And what the hell are you babbling about with the 1 of 471? There were 472 comments in that thread, all arguing different perspectives. Or are you unfamiliar with how comment threads at sites like DailyKos work? You know, they’re not all written by the same person.

    In comment #51, you said this:

    These muslims that you care so much for are not human as the vast majority of them are still alive.

    What in god’s name does that even mean? That sentence isn’t even in the ballpark of making sense. You know you can edit your comments after you leave them, right? Didn’t you recognize that the words you placed together in that sentence did not create a thought of any kind that made any sense to another person?

  47. 54

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    @4 Lee

    Sighhh .. I have never misrepresented your views.

    Back on topic. We behaved a lot better in re camps we maintained and POWs that our opponents. That, however, has nothing to do with what sorts of persuasion we used with critical captives, i.e. people more comparable to the (claimed) high level el Qaeda with critical knowledge. I have no idea how the predecessor to the CIA functioned in WWII, but stories I have heard form WWII vets certainly include episodes where we did abuse not only POWs but civilians. Probably unavoidable in an all out war. Have you read anything about how high value prisoners were treated by the allied intelligence services?

    Of course, the allies also committed atrocities in WWII, though not the same kind of events Hitler and Tojo used. Mnay people around the world feel pretty strngly about our use of the A bomb and about the fire bombing of Dresden.

    None of this changes your main poinjt, that is that the US SHOULD have high moral standards. I just don’t think American pre-eminence came from regard for our morals.

  48. 55

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    @ 23. Lee

    Calling the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima terrorism doesn’t quite fit for several reasons:
    1) Terrorism tends to be applied to the actions of small groups or individuals, not the acts of a nation against another.
    2) It’s hard to say that in a war where we were attacked first that responding in a way that was calculated to end the war is an act of terrorism
    3) The rationale was not political or ideological. It was a strategy within a war.

    What sophistry! Also you have your facts wrong. The US actually attacked Jpanaese forces before Pearl Harbor … read up on the Flying Tigers.

    AS for claiming that terrorism is not terrorism when practiced by a state … what BS. Iran, the USSR, etc. certainly practice or practiced terrorism, no?

    I think most folks would see little difference in the quality of terror betwee Mumbai .. likely this time NOT sponsored by the Paki govt. and earlier events where the govt. did have a role.

    While terrorizing people was certainly an element of why we dropped those bombs, it just doesn’t make sense to call it terrorism based upon the conventional meaning of the term.

    gad!

  49. 56

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    @51 Jim

    These muslims that you care so much for are not human as the vast majority of them are still alive. Sadly I can’t say this about out brave troops who stayed in uniform under battle conditions got captured and where burned alive or beheaded.

    I support our troops too and I know Lee does as well. However, when we invaded Iraq, WE became responsible for what happened to our troops. That is why som many of us are angry with Bush. Even those who think there were good reasons to invade understand that Bush made a mess of the invasion by ign oring the sound advice of his military advisers and Powell.

    So WHO deserves the blame for abuse of our soldiers? I think WE get the blame.

  50. 57

    correctnotright spews:

    @43: Thanks Mark – any comment from an idiot like you tells me I have hit the Mark. Nothing of substance from the wingnuts again. The usual personal ad hominem attacks without any substance. Thanks for showing how pathetic you and your right wing philosophy is.

    How are your election predictions going?

    How has the war on terror gone?

    Why are you so bat-shit stupid?

    I love the third-grade level attacks from people who can’t even figure out why Bush is the worst president in history. Your responses are EXACTLY why thinking people have been turned off – you THINK you know what is going on and the facts can be twisted or ignored to fit your narrow point of view. How pathetically sad.

  51. 58

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    I’m sure the lone terrorist caught in India won’t be tortured!
    They’ll just rip him apart limb by limb instead.

    Torture is a loaded word. Trying to define it is somewhat ludicrous.
    Should India torture the bastard they caught??
    Hell yes…because they may strike again and he probably has some knowledge as to when & where.

  52. 59

    correctnotright spews:

    @53: Poor Baby Jim

    One person ??? it was ONE of 471 post idiot.
    You would think finding a penny in the gutter a brilliant find.
    Drop off fag!

    Jim can’t get any reaction with his pathetic “evidence”. You quote ONE person – yes there may have been 471 comments but did they ALL say the same thing (I think NOT).

    I realize that in the wingnut fantasy land you reside ALL the troops say the same thing (like good Stalinists), but progressives tend to have many different and THOUHGTFUL opinions.

    And I love your name calling – luckily, I wouldn’t bother with a wimp like you so you don’t have to worry about getting your butt kicked by saying something assinine. What I do find, though, is that big talkers tend to run away fast in person. Your sorry and juvenile responses tell me alot about the level of your intellect and how insecure you are.

  53. 60

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    @58 Mr. Cynical

    For once, you almost make sense.

    It is intriguing to ask how SHOULD this person be treated? Certainly India MUST USE the most effective means they can drag information from him. I also wonder how pubic they will be about the methods they use.

    Mericuns should, however, remember that this is the land of Ghandi and ahimsa (non violence). The mix of the Mahatma’s legacy with the British legacy produces some of cultural fusion that is hard for any of us to understand.

    At the same time, the perps were islamofanatics in a country where considerable effort has been made to bridge the gap between Islam, as a society, and multiculturalism.

    I hope the reporting is good enough so we see, and maybe learn, for how the World’s largest Democracy and, arguably, oldest culure deals with this man of hate.

  54. 61

    headless lucy spews:

    re 2: Gates is a lot different than Donald Rumsfeld.

    Ha! Ha! on you, chowderhead.

  55. 62

    Dave spews:

    there’s a difference between the cruelties inflicted by the nature of war, and the calculated and intentional torturing of an INNOCENT prisoner by a conscienceless interrogator. We executed Nazis for doing that.

    ————-

    Of course there are – the fire bombings in WWII killed civilians on an immense scale with a key goal of breaking down the morale of the other side. Even at the time, the they were recognized as terror bombings and their purpose questioned. Here’s what Churchill wrote regarding Dresden:

    “It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed. Otherwise we shall come into control of an utterly ruined land… The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing. I am of the opinion that military objectives must henceforward be more strictly studied in our own interests than that of the enemy. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to me on this subject, and I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.”

    If Germany had won the war Churchill and other British war leaders would certainly have been tried as war criminals and executed in the German version of our Nuremberg trials (which ignored such uncomfortable facts as the Soviet attacks against Poland and Finland, the Katyn Forest massacre, and widespread Soviet atrocities against civilians, especially as the Red Army moved into Germany).

    This isn’t to compare the Allies with Germany, but simply to point out that during WWII there were clear instances where the Allies – at the state level – violated basic human rights.

    Even more recently, in Vietnam, Agent Orange was used extensively for years with devastating long-term consequences. We may have had policies against torturing prisoners, but on a higher level, a state level, we conducted herbicide warfare that is estimated to have resulted in “400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects” according to Vietnamese studies.

  56. 63

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    War is Hell-
    The Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists have declared war.
    In the case of Terrorist attacks where one of the perpetrators is captured in the act, I feel any & all means should be used to extract information. ANY & ALL! Time is of the essence. We do not have 6 months to give this asshole a fair trial….know what I mean.

    Looked to me like the Indian people of peace were pounding the sh*t outta this guy. He was probably scared to nearly to death. My guess is if he were given 5 minutes to start talking or be handed over to the “Mob”, you probably wouldn’t be able to shut him up.

    This is WAR. You KLOWNS are clueless about the cruelty of the world. We are literally fighting for survival. Any sign of weakness in spirit or determination to obliterate these assholes will empower them.
    Knock off the Flower Child, 60’s bullshit KLOWNS. Let’s agree to do whatever it takes to extract information from these bastards….and to wipe them out.
    You cannot reform them for God’s sake…you can’t. You KLOWNS are sooooooooo arrogant that apparently you believe that thru goodwill and by talking to these bastards, you will make some miraculous breakthru! WRONG!
    Grow up KLOWNS…this is the real world, not some Utopia.

  57. 64

    Steve spews:

    I think we should waterboard Cynical until he fesses up to being a BIAW terrorist. Show the fucktard some real world shit, not that reality construct-based, right-wing uptopia bullshit he makes up in his head.

  58. 65

    YLB spews:

    It’s pretty funny that the FBI thinks torture is just about the most ineffective way possible to get reliable information out of a prisoner.

    These are the people that make and break cases daily. You’d think these folks know what works and what doesn’t.

    But brainwashed right wing fools like Cynical just knee jerk out what they’ve been trained to spew.

  59. 66

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    YLB–
    I’ll bet that captured Terrorist in India would spew his guts out if the alternative was to be turned over to the angry mob and be ripped to shreds!

    The Fringe Lunatic Left worries more about the rights & feelings of terrorists than the future of our Country.
    Your brain needs re-wiring YLB and SLB.

  60. 67

    YLB spews:

    66 – How stupid are you? Many of those jihadi types are totally prepared to die. It’s what they’re expecting. They don’t fear death.

    But take them out of their environment and put them in isolation and they can be made to talk without torture. It’s been proven many many times.

    You ignored my point about the FBI – no wonder. It’s not exactly a left wing organization is it?

    What a silly right wing bozo!

  61. 68

    Proud to be SeattleJew Today spews:

    @66 – YLB to Cynical

    How stupid are you? Many of those jihadi types are totally prepared to die. It’s what they’re expecting. They don’t fear death

    True nuff, but there are a lot more cruel forms of torture that would let these fellas live. Would humiliation be wrong? Sensory deprivation? Why is water boarding such a issue? How do we know what the Mossad, KGB, Stasi, etc have actually found to work?