Friday, April 24, 2009

Tortured Logic

So the news is all atwitter over recently released memos that prove that the hierarchy of the Bush government sought out and approved methods of "enhanced interrogation techniques," particularly Cheney and Rumsfeld. Tell me something I don't already know. One witness after another has refuted the Rumsfeld "few bad apples" explanation for institutional torture in American run prisons. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, I personally don't care if they pull his teeth one by one, each representing 100 victims inside the World Trade Center, to get information or exact revenge for that matter. If he was responsible for the sneak attack on this nation, then he is an enemy combatant deserving of retribution. It's disturbing, however, to learn that the White House was inquiring about which "harsh techniques" they could legally use on prisoners three months before they had anyone to interrogate.

Focusing on the Bush government's sanctioning torture of detainees in the midst of this ghastly enterprise is like quibbling over the preferred thumbscrews used during the Spanish Inquisition. The My Lai Massacre occurred within the massive horror that was Vietnam. Violations of international law concerning treatment of prisoners happened in the greater atrocity that is the American invasion of Iraq. The continuing reports of prisoner abuse in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib while under U.S. control are worthy of examination, but they are misdemeanors when compared to the Bush government's larger crime. They conspired at the highest levels to willfully and without provocation, invade and occupy a sovereign nation, cynically using the 9/11 attacks to mislead the American people and the Congress into believing we were living under an imminent threat of nuclear attack from Iraq. All they needed was a major Al Qaeda leader to confess a confederacy with Saddam Hussein, and that would seal the deal.

I'm no seer, but I saw through the obfuscation the day the entire Bush cabinet fanned out to the Sunday talk shows to warn of Saddam's "mushroom cloud." In a time of patriotic fervor, this previously unutterable phrase sounded like obvious bullshit to sell the public on a war that's execution had already been decided. Why else would they send Colin Powell in front of the United Nations to display pictures of "rolling biological weapons labs," and "aluminum tubes used in the manufacture of nuclear materials," when U.N. weapons inspectors were still on the ground? But, according to the Downing Street Memo, the timetable had already been set for March, 2003. White House chief of staff Andrew Card famously told The New York Times in 2002, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." Even when Bush gave the Husseins 24 hours to get out of Dodge, the invasion was set. In the final hours when asylum was offered and accepted by Hussein, Bush blocked his exit. Cheney and Rumsfeld were going to exorcise the demon that had haunted them since the first Bush presidency ended; after a brilliantly executed war against Iraq, they had allowed Saddam to remain in power, and Poppy's critics called him a "wimp."

If the Justice Department wants to look at who approved waterboarding, have at it. After all, they finally got Al Capone for income tax evasion instead of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. But there are larger issues here. Taking a nation to war through lies and deception is a more serious infraction to me than smacking someone upside the head. Conducting a military exercise that kills over a half-million civilians and foments an insurgency that costs our soldiers 35,000 casualties is a higher crime than placing a dog collar on a detainee. The best estimate I've found of prisoners that have died in U.S. custody is 108, and that was four years ago. Of those, the Army admits that 34 are homicides. Our government's agents have done far worse than lock a man in a box with insects. We have tortured people to death, and it is documented. It's best that we, as a nation, address this egregious breach of civilized law ourselves, rather than have an international court parade the Bush lawyers who justified torture before the world. They were just the good Germans. The criminal conspiracy that took over the highest offices of government are the evildoers. I'm sure, however, that comfortable accommodations can be arranged for the Secret Service within Federal Prison grounds. Better locked-up in Leavenworth than renditioned to Romania.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

randy, i read every thing you send me. but you are so full of miss information {BULL {SHIT} so please stop.respectfully yours billy wicks

Father Farken said...

I too find this to be a sensitive subject since I myself must appear before a court of Bishops. It seems I have been accused, unjustly, I might add... of using Water-Boarding techniques in our last Adult Baptisms of converts from other faiths ....figuring a little more water could carry the candidates over to a clearer Christian way of thinking. The Peace of the Lord! Fr.Farken

Alan said...

You have been quoting 500,000 civilian deaths for 2 years. You need to put a pencil to that figure and realize that is a greatly inflated figure. I think the newest figure from the Iraqis is 100,000. The 500,000 figure over 7 years is 200 per day. The majority of civilian deaths are also from suicide bombers or Iraqi militants. The waterboarding figures recently released was not done to most of the detainees. The 300+ incidents were done to only 2 detainees. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his top Lt. The reporting on the memos tend to emphasize the number of incidents and not who received the treatment. It is also way too early to make judgement on Iraq. Judgement on history takes time to sort out all the contributing factors and eventual real results. It is ok to to give opinions and impressions. It is fine to state your beliefs, but only history will tell the true result of what we are doing. It is also important to state the facts as they are and not overstate to make your point. If you only get your sources from one side your information will be wrong. The biggest problem is the half truths that come out from both the right and the left. They both use half fact to boost their own positions.

Anonymous said...

I agree with just about everything that you said in this commentary. We should have handled the whole Iraq situation with special ops and surgical air or missile strikes as Al Queda sites were discovered and not to have trashed the whole country. I just can't get into righteous indignation over the torture issue. I am not much of a candy ass and it kind of freaks me out when people recoil with horror over the issue. There is such a thing as being so civilized that you won't have the stomach to do what it takes to defend yourself. If torture is judiciously used on the right perps resulting in saved American lives, then so be it. And I can hear some of the weenies on this blog recoiling at this thought, so go on and recoil. The usual pap is that torture doesn't work. That is painting with a broad brush. Upon whom it works or doesn't work is a case by case issue. I have a low pain threshold, so I would sing like a bird at the first sight of torture devices. Maybe I need sensitivity training, but I don't care what they do to murderous thugs who indiscriminately kill innocents. Oh, let me add that I don't go along with physical mutilation or anything truly barbaric. Playing rap music endlessly (I would talk after about 5 minutes of that), sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and other torture-lite methods are ok with me. But, everyone has their own opinion on this issue. And if Bush, Cheney, et al are guilty of being murderous thugs then put them on trial and convict them.

Anonymous said...

d n tn
You are right on the money. The Bush administration was filled with dishonorable people who should be held responsible for their actions. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.

Anonymous said...

Randy, you may be a little too liberal for Billy Wicks' tastes. And some of the information that you put out is biased, slanted, and has plenty of liberal spin. Of course conservatives do their own version of the same thing. I feel that the truth is generally somewhere in between liberal /conservative. There are two sides to every story, then there is the TRUTH. One really has to read your commentaries carefully to separate fact from your personal delusions. Billy is something of a two-fisted, he-man. There were a lot more of that type in the old days. But, males in our society have become quite feminized in these modern times. Candy-assed, hand-wringing liberals often turn the stomachs of the tougher breed of cat. No offense meant by that statement, but it is true.

Anonymous said...

I knew the war was wrong from the get go, too. So did many others, including a lot of our elected officials. But if they raised any objection they were shouted down as un-American and a traitor. That's the Limbaugh/Cheney/Coulter/Rove way -- the genuine un-American axis of evil.

Anonymous said...

Others would say that Obummer/Pelosi/Reid/Clinton/Schumer/Dodd/Franks and most of the rest of the Democratic Party constitute the axis of evil. I guess it is a matter of one's point of view. Most politicians thoughout the world are just clever white collar criminals for that matter. It's really not so much about the party. It's just the nature of the beast that draws a certain type to itself, sort of like the draw that decaying flesh has for vultures. It's the same principle. Birds of a feather flock together and screw the rest of the birds out of their hard earned feed.

drewhadfield said...

Hey randy. Drew Hadfield here. I'm getting into all this blog and such late in life. It's new and different and must therefore be feared and mistrusted. I saw your rant in the Flyer and had to look this up. What's funny, back in '59, '60 and '61 I had a Press Scimitar route in my homeland of Frayser. I threw a paper every afternoon at the double wide home of Sputnik and Treacherous Phillips. It was in a trai... mobile home park on 51N. Let me hear from you. drewhadfield@bellsouth.net

Gimme A Break said...

You waste your time with your focus on Bush/Cheney. They have come and gone. It would be better to focus on the crooks in congress, both parties, that have been around building their personal wealth and screwing the American people for 30 + years.

J said...

I love all these "tough guys" describing anyone against torture as a "candy-ass." Tell that to McCain, the Joint Chiefs, professional CIA and FBI interrogators, head of NSA and many other real men who've put their lives on the line in defense of this country, who've spoken out and signed statements against such practices. As McCain said, this issue is not about what kind of people our enemies are, but who we are as a people. Oh, and the guy who defends torture as long as you do it gently---where do these morons come from!
The true "candy-asses" are the apologists for brutality and the jingoists who have never broken a sweat in defense of this country but act like their balls are bullet-proof. What a bunch of wusses!

Anonymous said...

Just interested in protecting the American people, including the likes of you. 'Soft' torture that leaves no marks, like endless rap music, waterboarding, etc., is not an atrocity, especially if it prevents another 9/11. You write like a typical light-in-the- loafers, hand-wringing, girlie man yourself, Bub.

Randy said...

Alan,
My source for Iraqi casualties was the Information Clearing House. However, here is a quote from
Corinne Reilly, McClatchy Newspapers, Mon, Apr. 20, 2009:

"No comprehensive, reliable civilian body count exists, but so many people have been killed in the past six years that it's nearly impossible to find an Iraqi who doesn't know someone who died violently, either because of actions by American troops or, far more commonly, in the widespread bloodletting that the invasion triggered." and...

"The reality is that in war, civilian deaths are always the least likely to be properly counted and recognized, no matter how numerous they are," said John Sloboda, a co-founder of Iraq Body Count, which has recorded roughly 100,000 war-related civilian deaths in Iraq since 2003. "That's why we decided to do this, because all victims should be recognized."
Sloboda is careful to note that his organization's count, which relies mostly on news reports, isn't an estimate of the number of civilians who've been killed. "This is the number of deaths that we're certain have taken place," he said. "It's the ones we know about. But there are undoubtedly ones we don't."

So we must, of necessity, estimate civilian deaths. But I don't care if they were killed by military forces or suicide bombers, they were civilians and they are just as dead. If history determines we did a good thing in Iraq, then it's because we write the history. If the ends justify the means, then any means are acceptable. This preemptive war was a fraud and I defy anyone who claims I deal in half-truths to disprove any factual statement I have written.

Since I learned the rules in Journalism school, I try to separate what is fact from what is opinion. But I'll put my research up for examination anytime, and it doesn't all come from either Fox News or MSNBC.

All this "socialist," "fascist" nonsense was non-existent before the Fox News idiots and right-wing radio hosts began to beat the drums. I don't believe that most people who throw around the words "socialism," or "fascism," can define the terms. I have never heard such venomous hysteria only 100 days into a president's term.

For me, it's not so much who is right or wrong anymore, but who is informed or misinformed. There is no getting around the fact that this country, defying a history of precedent, started a war and innocent people died. Whether it's a half million or 100,000, it's still obscene, immoral, and illegal. RH

Anonymous said...

I am a nativist and an isolationist, so I'll agree with you. We need to leave the rest of the world alone. But, if they fuck with us, nuke 'em. That way none of our boys die.

Anonymous said...

Good idea about the use of terms that can have different shades of meaning to different people like socialism and facism. They are not necessary at all when it comes to discussing the things that many people are in disagreement about with to regard government policy. I can be more specific and avoid ideological terminology. Broadly speaking my beef, along with many others, has to do with government intrusion and tyranny in regard to the private sector. That is, the means by which government interferes in the lives of free-born individuals. Some of these intrusions would be the redistribution of wealth, prohibitive taxation, busing and other acts of social engineering like affirmative action, and other acts whereby the government interferes with the choices of free-born people without their consent. When the government acts unilaterally and by fiat to attempt to conform the lives of the free-born to some bullshit vision of (usually) liberal elites that is tyranny. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people used to mean something. Most liberals are willing to sacrifice freedom for some dubious elitist vision of what is 'fair' or right in the eyes of a relative few. So they steam roll the masses of free people. Kings used to do that to the serfs. Government has its rightful place and function, but if allowed to run amok it always becomes tyrannical. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance over the assholes who run the government. We dropped the ball somewhere along the line. Is this terminology free enough for you?

Anonymous said...

Another freedom depriving ploy of liberals is to use judges to legislate issues from the bench that ought to be decided by the legislators. Busing and affirmative action are good examples of that and there are many others. What liberals can't accomplish democratically they will effect through their judges, the free people be damned. It is the unprincipled action of a freedom depriving and tyrannical government that continues its depredations ad infinitum. We let the snake lose at some point through a lack of vigilance and all freedom loving people are in jeapardy. And, for some reason liberals think that this state of affairs is wonderful. I can hear them saying to their tyrannical government, 'Beat us, whip us, make us write bad checks'. Maybe the fundamental problem with them is masochism caused by guilt...'I am happier and more prosperous than I should be. Please take my happiness and money from me and redistribute it as you see fit. You are so much wiser than I, oh great Master. And do the same to those stingy conservatives'.

kimk said...

In year 1966 the Cheney/Rumsfeld equivalents of that era were the ones screaming the loudest when POW Naval Commander Jeremiah Denton blinked morse code for the word TORTURE as the North Vietnamese paraded him in front of a TV camera.

Anonymous said...

EEEhaw!! I just found out that we po' folks are getting an extra $250 Social Security check this May. It is coming from Obummer's income redistribution policies. I almost said Obummer's socialist policies, but Randy said that I don't know what that means so I decided to quit using the term. I'm going to buy a lid of pot and then blow the rest at my favorite strip club. Don't tell the suckers that Obummer ripped off. They may get upset and do something to stop the gravy train. Hey, I might grow to like this social...oops, I mean income redistribution stuff and quit grousing about it. I also heard that Obummer was going to recycle a certain percentage of the cap and trade rip-off my way. Goody!! My dealer and the girls at the strip joint depend on me for support. Go Obummer, go!!

Anonymous said...

After the biggest and most irresponsible spending spree in history, Obummer has now decided that he wants to balance the budget...on the backs of the taxpayers, of course. So, it looks like another one of his promises will be going south. The Dems will even have to raise the taxes of the church mice, wait and see. He also mentioned spending cuts, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to come to pass. Dems are not fond at all of spending cuts. That would save tax dollars and that is something that the Dems are loathe to do. It's much more fun to piss tax dollars away on things like Pelosi's swamp mice. And, don't forget the provision in Obummer's Economic Recovery Act that gives all of us Social Security folks a $250 bump in the month of May. And, we are waiting with bated breath for our share of the Cap and Trade rip-off. Go Obummer, go. It's fixing to be jack pot city for all of us on the lower end of the income spectrum. These are examples of how sincere he is about spending cuts.

Sputnik57 said...

From Frank Rich
New York Times

"Five years after the Abu Ghraib revelations, we must acknowledge that our government methodically authorized torture and lied about it. But we also must contemplate the possibility that it did so not just out of a sincere, if criminally misguided, desire to “protect” us but also to promote an unnecessary and catastrophic war. Instead of saving us from “another 9/11,” torture was a tool in the campaign to falsify and exploit 9/11 so that fearful Americans would be bamboozled into a mission that had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. The lying about Iraq remains the original sin from which flows much of the Bush White House’s illegality."

Anonymous said...

He may be insincere about spending cuts, but the examples given concerning his largesse in regard to lower income folks show that he is very sincere about redistributing the country's wealth. Stalin, Lenin, and Marx would be very proud of him and his radical left Democratic/Communist cronies. The glorious revolution is proceeding very well. Soon the middle class and most of the upper class will be wiped out. Go get 'em and bleed 'em dry, Obummer.

Anonymous said...

All right, so the Iraq war was bogus. Probably 90% of America agrees with you on this. Those who don't are probably part of the conspiracy. Back to the torture thing. I think that constructing a large conveyer belt up to and over the rim of an active volcano in Hawaii would be an effect and tidy way to rid us of Muslim extremists. That or a giant tree shredder. Then we could market the residue as mulch or pet food and give the proceeds to the needy. Your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

You say that before the advent of Fox News people didn't commonly use terms like socialist and facist. You are probably right because Fox News is about the only news venue that isn't liberal and socialist in its point of view. Most of the mainstrean news media are extremely liberal and sympathetic to the socialist point of view. Actually, they are part of an extremely widespread liberal cabal that is in the process of taking over the USA and transforming it into the United Socialist States of America. The objective of the cabal will most likely be attained by the end of Obummer's term in office. He is the point man in the fulfillment of their purposes.

Gary White said...

You are sooooo September 10th...

The one inescapable fact is Bush kept us safe in large part because of the interrogations. We do have solid evidence that it WORKS. No more attacks after 911.

I'm afraid Obama is willing to allow another 911 in order to uphold a "principle". Are you willing to let Obama use your family and thousands of others to prove we are a caring nation that treats terrorists like regular combatants? Sorry I value American lives far more than Obama does.

It's funny no one asks the 911 families their opinions. It's also strange we are treated to all sorts of pictures of "torture" yet the media is very reluctant to show any 911 footage in detail.

If we were to see the people jumping off the buildings again (some holding hands as they fall) or the planes flying into the buildings, our ideas of what is actually torture would be more realistic?

To be fair we should show all the 911 footage on the same day Obama releases the "torture" pictures.

If another 911 happens and that it's prevention was thwarted as a result of Obama changing past policy, Obama and his clowns need to be charged with accessory to murder and providing aid to the enemy.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a little bit of balance on this Bolshevik, America-hating blog. Well said Gary White, whoever you are. Obummer and his commie comrades will get a lot of Americans killed, wait and see. Everyone in the world knows that he and the rest of the Democrats won't lift a finger to protect the country. For that matter, I doubt that a leftist Democrat would defend his own family. Alan Combs would probably hide behind his wife and children if they were attacked by terrorists. Obummer would rather hold hands and sing Kumbaya with the world's most vicious dictators than to bother himself with the defense of the country. The Dems have been like this for at least 40 years, if not longer. You can bet that the terrorist cells in America are gearing up to really waylay us. What do they have to sweat from Obummer and the Dems? Maybe 40 hours of community service if apprehended.

Willard the Wise said...

Liberals are much more inclined to nourish than to protect. This is because it is a male spiritual aspect to provide protection. Liberals are those amongst us who have been highly feminized, spiritually speaking. That is why they tend to be in need of being cared for and protected. When times get tough, the spiritual men amongst us rise up and do the necessary fighting to save the day, and then for some reason we allow the feminized liberals to gain ascendancy and put us back in jeapardy, and so the cycle goes. I guess it is an indictment against the male spiritual aspect in our society that we allow this condition to persist. It is said that women, children, (and hence, liberals) tend to push until they find something solid. It is a failure of conservatism and hence, the male aspect, that we allow women and girlie men to gain such power in our society. The men amongst us need to band together, deal firmly with the girls (both male and female), remind them of their place and function in the order of things, and get our house back in order.

Anonymous said...

You may be on to something, Willard. But you should consider something. Being overly rational and left-brained can cause the female aspect to become hysterical. They are not eqipped to deal with that. What if one of the girls, including the male type, were to have a fit and break a nail. That would be on your head. Are you prepared for such an eventuality? And they are fond of using judicial means to get their way. Are you up for a possible law suit? Maybe you should balance things out by telling them a sweet little lie now. They handle lies much better than the truth. The truth often seems so tacky and mean-spirited, after all.

Willard the Wise said...

A sweet little lie? How about, 'The liberals won't fuck our country up'. That's a lie, but I don't know if it's sweet enough for you.